Advent, feasts and seasons, liturgical year, saint celebrations, St. Lucy, The Bug, tradition

St. Lucy Day from a can

 This is our second St. Lucy Day as a family of 5. Since we have a Lucy (our oldest daughter, otherwise known as The Bug), we feel we ought to mark the occasion. Lucy may only be older by 40 minutes, but she believes it still counts…you can just tell when you talk with her.

Last year, we said, “Oh, it’s St Lucy Day. We should probably do something.” The Sisters were not quite 3 months old. Our celebration last year consisted of changing lots of diapers, rocking and nursing. Those things took all day. There simply wasn’t time for anything else.

This year, we have (a little) more time, and I fully intended to do something for St. Lucy Day.
Unfortunately, it fell the day after the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which we celebrated. I had planned to make the special St. Lucy bread and have it in the morning. When that didn’t happen, I thought I’d make it during nap time and have it with soup for dinner.

It turns out, though, that this year I’m the kind of mom who chooses to go for a 5 mile run (on the treadmill) during nap time instead of baking special St. Lucy bread for my daughter’s name saint day. I suspect (okay, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt) that my family had a better evening because of my 5 miler than they would have if I had made the bread, no matter how well it turned out. Every mother runner (and probably her husband and children) knows that Grouchy Mommy in the morning + run at naptime = Better, Happier Mommy in the evening. Grouchy Mommy baking bread…well, that’s not quite as predictable.

So, no special St. Lucy bread this year. Although we’ve come a long way in a year, time is still so limited. As you all know, I have my hands full. I know many of you do, too.

Instead of soup and special bread last night, we spontaneously put everyone in pajamas, hopped in the car, went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s, and ate in the car while we drove around town looking at Christmas lights. We ended up outside of town in Shenandoah National Park to catch sight of a few of the Geminids in the hours before the meteor shower peaked, then came home and put everyone to bed a little later than usual.

The nicest thing about family traditions, particularly when you are trying to start them, is that they are flexible. They can be adapted to suit the situation in which you find yourself. I am a devout observer of traditions. I am not a fan, however, of rigidity. I grew up in a blended family with stepsiblings who were not always with us on the calendar date of major holidays. Sometimes we celebrated a day before everyone else we knew and sometimes a day after. My mom’s favorite phrase during these times was, “We’ll just need to play it by ear.” I remember all of us skating around the neighborhood in our brand new rollerblades, telling our confused neighbors that Santa had already been to our house when Christmas was still two days away. We were flexible…and it was fine. It all turned out okay.

Things change, and our traditions need to be able to change, too. Traditions are only as good as they make us feel, and if we stress ourselves out and get all weepy over how things aren’t going the way we wanted them to, the tradition is serving itself instead of our families. That’s not good for anyone.

So, with yesterday having come and gone with no St. Lucy festivities, we celebrated St. Lucy quickly this morning at breakfast, and we did it in a way that worked for us this year. I made a can of cinnamon rolls (the bake fast method, where you spread them out on the cookie sheet – it took less than 10 minutes). We stuck some leftover birthday candles in them and lit them. I quickly made a wreath for Lucy’s head out of pipe cleaners and put some more candles in that. (I did not light them.)

Throw in some smiley kids, and there you have it –
Instant celebration.

See those faces? This is what it looks like when you build traditions from the ground up. It’s not always perfect, it’s not always Pinterest-ing…but it is always worth doing, anyway. We’re building a foundation for our families, for our children. We’re laying the groundwork for memories and celebrations in years to come. It is enough just to start something, even if it’s something out of a can instead of from scratch.
A happy St. Lucy Day to all of you- a day late and slightly imperfect, but still just as meaningful.
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Advent, cookies, feasts and seasons, little holydays, liturgical year, Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, saint celebrations

Why I’m baking biscochitos

Biscochitos are tiny little crispy bits of heaven by way of New Mexico. They are the state’s official cookie, and they are eaten at Christmas and other festive occasions. When we visited New Mexico two summers ago, we loved them and vowed we would make them at home. All of the recipes I could find then were a little more complicated than I could manage that year. Then last Christmas, I had less time than ever for baking (or anything, really) with the two baby twins needing my care.

This year, I am a more confident baker, and I am baking biscochitos for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12.

The real way to make biscochitos is to use your New Mexican great-grandmother’s recipe that has been handed down in your family (and about a pound of lard). I have no New Mexican great-grandmother, and this isn’t a family recipe. It doesn’t belong to me at all- I found it on the website for a New Mexican newspaper – but I’m adding it to my family’s traditional celebration for this feast. (No lard, though. I used butter and just a tiny bit of Crisco. Crisco is scary, but lard scares me even more.)

I love Our Lady of Guadalupe. She doesn’t belong to me, exactly…maybe no more than the cookie recipe does. Her story, though, reminds me that God always finds ways to meet us where we are and that God is big enough for all of us.

On December 9, 1531, an Aztec peasant named Juan Diego encountered the Virgin Mary at Tepeyac Hill. His people had been under the rule of Spanish conquistadores for many years, and the Christian faith had been forced upon them. When he saw the Virgin Mary, though, she looked like him: she was wearing native dress, had brown skin and features like his (instead of like the Spaniards), and spoke to him in Nahuatl, his own language. Juan Diego reported the encounter to the archbishop, who requested proof that the lady was who she claimed to be. The lady instructed him to fill his tilma (cloak) with the roses growing on the hill and take them back to the archbishop. (It was the middle of winter, so the presence of the roses was in itself miraculous.) When Juan Diego followed her directions and opened his tilma to show the roses to the archbishop, they both saw a clear image of the Virgin Mary imprinted on the fabric.

Because the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego’s people as one of them and spoke to them in their own language, millions of people converted to Christianity. Where the Spaniards had tried (and failed) to force the people to accept their faith, this apparition brought a message of love and acceptance: truth isn’t the property of the people who are persecuting you, there is room for you here, and God wants you just the way you are.

In Mexico and across the United States today, there are Masses and parades and celebrations honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe. At our parish, there was a Mass at 5 AM to start the day off, and there will be a dinner with a dance this evening. At our house, there will be a feast of fajitas, queso dip, and tamales. We’ll play Mexican music and enjoy each other’s company as we remember that God is the God of everyone…including each of us, even when we aren’t looking for God. And we’ll eat biscochitos for dessert.     
                                                          
We cut the biscochitos in the shape of stars for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Her mantle is full of stars, like the night sky…and it’s big enough to cover all of us who want to stand beneath it. From now on, these cookies will be our way of remembering how she came to share God’s love with everyone.

activities, Advent, cookies, feasts and seasons, frustration, little holydays, liturgical year, parenting, saint celebrations, St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas, take one

This is our family’s first observance of St. Nicholas’ Day. Our logical, intellectual, science-loving preschooler was about to throw all belief in the invisible out the window after seeing Santa in a mall near my mom’s house at Thanksgiving. Sensing that we needed to shift the emphasis a little from the Santa question, I suggested we start celebrating this feast to honor the historical person of St. Nicholas, who was so much cooler than Santa, anyway (see Haley’s excellent post on him here at Carrots for Michaelmas).

I won’t go so far as to say it was a bad idea for us to do this. I just think I went about it wrong. Interested in learning from my mistakes? Here is the breakdown of what you should do if you want your St. Nicholas feast day celebration to feel like it’s turning out badly:

  • Realize that you aren’t sure whether to set out the shoes on the night before (St. Nicholas’ Eve?) or the night of the feast. Pick the night before because you’re excited. (Ignore the sneaking suspicion you may have at this point that this is about you and not about St. Nicholas or the children. A moment of self-awareness at this point could ruin all the fun.)

  • Be sure to get treats that are too big to fit into the children’s tiny shoes (more because of their tiny feet than the bigness of the treats). Attempt to shove the card game into your child’s shoes anyway and get frustrated when it doesn’t fit. Decide to save the Santa-hat-wearing rubber ducks for the children’s stockings because you hurt your hand trying to cram them into the shoes.

  • Let your child have hot chocolate at breakfast (it’s a feast day, right?), then grumble at him when he’s too full to really eat anything. 

  • Unsuccessfully try to read your beautiful new St. Nicholas book to your child, who will only talk about planets and runs away shouting something about nebulae when you try to change the subject. 

    • Decide to bake cookies with the child, but don’t bother to double-check the ingredients (especially if you bake and generally have all that stuff). Realize that all the traditional cookie recipes for St. Nicholas’ Day call for anise. (Who has that?) Decide to substitute cloves. Grumble at the child when he jumps up and down on his stool and spills flour all over everything and everyone.

    • Don’t chill the dough fully because you’re in a hurry to get to a playdate and you want to take fresh baked cookies along to share. Struggle to roll out sticky dough, even though you know better. When your child approaches and is chattering at you about VY Canis Majoris and how it’s the biggest star and how it can burn up everything in our solar system, tell him, “Sssssshhhh!” in a very aggravated way. Feel guilty, but keep struggling with the dough.

    • Burn your hand while taking out the cookies. Say, “Awesome,” in as sarcastic a voice as possible. When your child asks what is so awesome, roll your eyes at him.

    • Anger the babies while waking them up early for the playdate (for which you are already quite late). Feel frustrated with them for being fussy. Allow a small part of your brain to think they are doing it on purpose just to annoy you.

    • Realize that your celebration feels entirely uncelebratory and that it’s your own fault.

    My attitude needs a reset button today. I am the cause of my own frustration – it’s not really about my kids or the cookies or any of it. I have an idea of how I want to celebrate the feast, and I’ve tried to force our day to fit it. Really, it ought to be the other way around. Really, I should start with the day I have, and then see what I can do to make it feel like a celebration.

    My children are kind of grumpy today. I’m kind of grumpy, too. We’re making each other grumpier. We did the shoes and the cookies. That might be all the celebrating we need to do this year.

    You know what? It’s okay. It’s enough. Sometimes, on a day like today with little kids, you have to just cut your losses. SuperSam might remember the shoes for next year, but the girls won’t remember anything – it will basically be a blank slate. So for now, instead of worrying about what kind of feasting we should be doing at dinner tonight, I’m going to take a nap. I might even end up ordering pizza and calling it a St. Nicholas’ Day gift to myself.

    No judgment.

    Happy St. Nicholas’ Day, y’all.

    Advent, feasts and seasons, little holydays, liturgical year

    Advent linkup: in case you haven’t had enough…

    I’m participating in an Advent linkup with some other bloggers this morning. It’s being hosted by Carrots for Michaelmas, Dualing Moms and Molly Makes Do. People will be posting about Advent traditions, upcoming holy days, music, crafts and activities, simple gift giving, how to teach children about the liturgical year, and more. There are a bunch of great writers participating, and we’d love for you to come and check it out. Just click on the button below to find out more.

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    activities, Advent, feasts and seasons, Jesus, little holydays, liturgical year

    Names of Jesus advent chain

    This morning, SuperSam and I found ourselves with some time to fill. He was feeling crafty, which doesn’t happen all that often. There are probably a thousand exciting, beautiful, intricate Advent project ideas out there right now that we could choose to do together. Sometimes, though, the simplest projects are exactly what I need to help me connect with my children and with the season. Today, we made an Advent paper chain with one of Jesus’ names on each link.

    Jesus is called by many names in the Bible. When the angel comes to announce to Mary that she will bear God’s son, he tells her that the baby will be called Emmanuel. Some of his names are taken from ancient prophets, like Isaiah. Each Gospel writer introduces new names for Jesus, and St. Paul gives us many more names in his letters to the early church. Finally, some of the powerful images for Jesus come from names used for him in Revelation.

    Our Advent chain has 24 links, one for each day until Christmas Day. SuperSam and I worked together to choose our favorite names of Jesus and wrote one on each link of chain. Our plan is to remove a link each day and read the name of Jesus and the scripture verse where that name originates.

    Here is how to make your own Advent chain, if you want to join us in this practice.

    What you’ll need: 

    • Paper to cut into strips for the chain links (we used scrapbook paper)
    • Scissors
    • Tape
    • A writing implement (pen, pencil, marker, stub of crayon – whatever you have will work)
    • A calendar (optional)

    You probably know how many days there are from the beginning of Advent to Christmas Day. Since SuperSam is just beginning to understand how days and weeks and months and seasons fit together, he asks me every day if it is Christmas yet (I like to send him here for the answer and a giggle). I thought it would be helpful to have him count the days on the calendar to figure out how many links we would need. We started with the first day of Advent (December 2) and made a link for each day until Christmas.

    First, cut your paper into strips. Our strips were 6 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, which made nice, fat links. If I were doing this again, I would make them almost twice that long so they would be easier for SuperSam to link together.

    This is a great way for a young child to practice cutting. I made “starter cuts” for SuperSam at the edge of the paper, and he followed them up with his scissors to make the cuts (all the while saying “squeeze squeeze SLIDE, squeeze squeeze SLIDE” and making a noise like squealing brakes when he reached the edge. Ah, crafts with preschool boys…never boring.

    Once you have a pile of strips, write one of the names of Jesus on the back of each strip. (There is a thorough list available here.) Here are the ones we used with the scripture references, in case you’d like to borrow any of them:

    A Precious Stone – 1 Peter 2:6
    The Builder – Hebrews 3:3
    The Vine – John 15:5
    The Son of the Living God – Matthew 16:16
    Emmanuel (God with us) – Matthew 1:23
    The Truth – John 14:6
    The Root of Jesse – Isaiah 11:10
    Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6
    A Sure Foundation – Isaiah 28:16
    The Word – John 1:1
    Lily of the Valley – Song of Songs 2:1
    The Resurrection – John 11:25
    The Lamb of God – John 1:29
    The Way – John 14:6
    The Bread of Life – John 6:35
    Alpha and Omega – Revelation 1:8
    Dayspring from on High – Luke 1:78
    The Head – Ephesians 4:15
    Lord of Lords – Revelation 17:14
    Light of the World – John 8:12
    Bright and Morning Star – Revelation 22:16
    The Sun of Righteousness – Malachi 4:2
    King of Kings – Revelation 17:14
    Messiah – John 4:25
    King of Glory – Psalm 24:10
    Savior of the World – 1 John 4:14
    The Good Shepherd – John 10:11

      
    To make the chain, form the first link into a circle and fasten it with a piece of tape. If you want to be fancy, you can use double-sided tape so it doesn’t show. We are not fancy, so we used regular old transparent tape (which is never quite transparent, so you can see if it you look closely!). Insert a second strip through the first strip to link them together, then make another circle. Keep going until you have threaded all the links together to form a chain. If you’re working with a child who can’t do this part by himself, this is a good time to work together. SuperSam lined up pieces of tape all along the table edge and chose which strips should go next in the chain. He also liked putting the piece of tape on each link while I held it (although his success rate with that was about 50% – we had to redo a number of them when the tape totally missed the seam). It’s all about the process, right?

    Finally, SuperSam wanted to make a star to put at the top of the chain and write “Jesus” on it. His star is a Jesus Star, he said, but it’s most like Rigel (one of his favorites because it’s a double star and it’s blue- the hottest kind of star). He also drew planets orbiting the star (because we just can’t do anything without including planets these days).

    I hope this simple craft gives you time to reflect on some of the many different facets of Jesus. We often think this time of year of the little baby boy who was born in a manger, but taking a step back to consider the bigger picture of who Jesus was and is can be a good thing, too. A great number of these names for Jesus show up in hymn texts and carols we will sing during Advent and Christmas. Taking a few minutes to remind ourselves (or to learn for the first time) some of the names now can make singing those favorite songs even more meaningful this year.
    Blessings during this first week of Advent!

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    Advent, feasts and seasons, liturgical year, prayer

    It’s beginning to look (and sound) a little like Advent.

    Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. The season of preparation has officially arrived.

    Deep breath. That doesn’t mean I have to be prepared now. It means it’s time to start preparing.

    (For those of you who for whom this whole Advent thing is unfamiliar or who might not share my enthusiasm for the topic, it’s okay. This just happens to be one of those times when my liturgical geekery is on full display. Once January comes and Epiphany happens and the Magi have left the building, I will go back to writing about other stuff. Promise.)

    So far: I have replaced the fall wreath on our door with an appropriately wintery (though not overly Christmas-y) looking one that I made. I love how it turned out. We have thrown away the moldy jack ‘o’ lantern. Right now, there’s still a fall-looking flag up on my little garden flagpole, but I can change it tomorrow. We lit the first candle on the Advent wreath tonight at dinner, but we didn’t have time to dig the actual wreath out from the attic, so we just have the candles in the wreath form. Not pretty, but functional. It was fine. There’s plenty of time.

    Many Christian churches have an Advent wreath. It has four candles, usually purple or dark blue, around the circle and a single white candle in the center. (Sometimes the third outside candle is pink…more on that when we get to the third Sunday.) One of the outer candles is lit each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas to symbolize the coming Light of Christ. The center candle symbolizes Christ and is lit on Christmas. It is common for families to have a wreath in their homes, as well, and to light the candles together. We received a wreath as a wedding gift and have enjoyed lighting it every year since we were married in 2001.

    With little children, the traditional readings can get a little long. I want SuperSam and The Sisters to enjoy our tradition of using the wreath, so I have been searching for a resource that can help us make this happen.

    I found O Radiant Dawn: 5 Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath by Lisa Hendey and ordered it last week. There are short readings and prayers to use daily during Advent. Each day’s reading lasts just a few minutes, so it’s perfect for us to use at dinner together each evening (which is when we usually light our candles). The readings focus on light and dark, so it’s easy for SuperSam to relate to them. (Note to fellow liturgy geeks: the book does not follow the lectionary, but it does include the O Antiphons, so I’m not complaining. Besides, we can use it again next year.)

    A reader asked me this week what I was doing to help slow myself down (see here if you missed why I need to do that). I have decided to put notes to myself in some prominent places (bathroom mirrors, refrigerator door, coffee pot, dashboard of the car, and laptop, to start) that say things like “Breathe, there’s time,” and “Waiting IS doing something,” and “Slow down, it’s just Advent.” I haven’t actually done this yet, but since the notes are supposed to remind me that I have time, I am not stressing about it. We’ll see if they help me keep myself from rushing ahead to Christmas too quickly.

    We have been listening to the Advent playlist I created (yes, I know that was cheating, but I needed to test it out for you). I’m posting it here on the blog for you in case your ears are hungry for some not-yet-Christmas music. It’s about 2 hours long…who knew there were so many Advent songs?

    Advent music is strange in some ways, and hearing these songs can be a little jarring when we are so used to Christmas music this time of year. Putting together this playlist made it clear to me that as a culture, we have moved away from observing this season. Most of the compositions are quite old – classical pieces, motets, chant and plainsong make up the bulk of the music I included – but a few contemporary artists have recorded some of the old hymn texts in new settings, and there are some lovely instrumental arrangements, too. The tone is contemplative, often solemn, occasionally apocalyptic- a definite contrast with the stuff being played over the loudspeakers at the mall right now. It is working for me, but if you’re in the mood for something totally upbeat and cheery, you might look elsewhere. (Or just check out the a capella version of Sleepers, wake! down below – so catchy!) You might need to download free Spotify software if you don’t already have it to hear the songs…I’m trying to find a way around that.

    Here is the text of one traditional Advent hymn that has been running through my head:

    People, look East. The time is near of the crowning of the year.

    Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table.

    People, look East, and sing today: Love, the Guest, is on the way.

    I especially like the part about making your house “fair as you are able.” Maybe the composer had a bunch of little kids and shared my aversion to sweeping and never quite got around to dusting her bookshelves. Fortunately, I still have time to clean things up before Christmas (and Love, the Guest) arrives. So yes, people, look east, by all means – just don’t look behind my couch (at least not for a few more weeks).

    If the cleanliness of my floors is any indication, I’m doing okay with the whole “taking my time” thing. I’ll keep you posted.

    Advent, feasts and seasons, liturgical year

    Why I need Advent.


    Our jack’o’lantern’s face has that wizened, sunken look…kind of like the woman wearing a purple daisy housecoat in the aisle at Dollar Tree who has forgotten to put in her dentures.

    Yes, the pumpkins are still on our porch. The mums have browned and are all droopy and in need of cutting back. The straw wreath is still on our door.

    All around me, my neighbors have decorated for Christmas, erasing chunks of the night sky with colored lights on their houses and white lights in their shrubs and giant inflatable light-up snow globe thingys in their front yards. People have their trees up and their presents bought and are already baking cookies.

    And the music…oh, the music. It’s everywhere, even inside my head. Rudolph and the horrible lisping child who “ain’t been nuthin’ but bad” and Santa Baby won’t you bring me a duplex and checks and Frosty hippity-hop-hopping all over the shopping center are making me want to run into the mountains and hide out indefinitely in a cabin by myself.

    Wait! I want to scream. Hold on a minute! I’m not ready…I’m just trying to recover from Thanksgiving.

    We have a whole extra week this year…Thanksgiving was early (whatever that means), and it isn’t even December yet….so why do I feel so out of breath, like I’m being left behind? Somehow, before the table was even cleared, with words of gratitude barely out of our mouths, the world went spinning madly into “the holiday season,” everyone sprinting for the door with the goal of getting as much done as possible, as quickly as possible.

    I feel like I got left sitting here with the dirty dishes.

    Before you decide that I’m one of those bah-humbuggers, let me say that Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it. I even got married in December, just so I could have a brass ensemble playing carols at my wedding and Christmas trees with lights as decorations. I love egg nog, cookies, wrapping paper and caroling. George and I have been making Christmas playlists since 1997, and we have amassed thousands of songs for holiday listening. Really, we should start playing the music as soon as possible, just so we could make it all the way through our old favorites and get some new things in the rotation, too…and most years, we have (all the while faithfully lighting our Advent wreath).

    This year, though, I just don’t understand the rush. Why do I feel so overwhelmed? Why the huge push to get everything done right now? So we can check everything off our lists and then relax and enjoy the holidays?

    Today, sitting amid piles of unwashed things, some still in suitcases from our trip last week, I’m struggling to create order from chaos, editing my longest to-do list in recent memory (involving both sides of a piece of college-ruled paper). I have a bunch of lists right now- a house cleaning list, a gift list-turned-spreadsheet, a decorating list, a grocery list, a list of gift ideas for the grandparents. (I just made a list of my lists. That alone might qualify it as a compulsion.)

    The house is a mess. I’m trying to do five things at once (involving multiple separate screens on electronic devices, a cold cup of coffee I’ve reheated twice already, and mismatched socks). I hear my babies’ conversation as they are waking up from their nap, and my first thought is, “Oh, great…now I’m not going to get anything done.”

    It all feels out of control (a situation I don’t handle well, if I’m being honest). I’m not ready for Christmas, and there is so much to do. In an effort to get everything together, I am writing it all down, as if literally putting all of it under my fingers will help me to feel on top of it.

    Suddenly, I realize that I am guilty of trying to control the Incarnation (and everything else, too) with my lists.

    It’s not only my house that needs cleaning. My heart and my mind do, too. I feel cluttered, overwhelmed by all the stuff I think I need to do, busy and scattered and distracted.

    Fortunately for all of us, the arrival of Christmas doesn’t depend on me and my chronic list-making and my incomplete preparations. Christmas is so much bigger than my lists. It is a turning point in history, the arrival of God-made-baby, Love made visible. It is hope with feet, complete with ten tiny toes. It can completely change everything, if we let it. It is a big deal. 

    It’s such a big deal, in fact, that we need time to prepare for it.

    Yes, there are things to be done, as there always are. But it doesn’t have to all be done right this instant. The false sense of urgency I feel is just that – FALSE – and I’m calling it what it is.

    It isn’t Christmas yet. It isn’t even Advent yet, actually, and I don’t have to do everything RIGHT NOW.

    Today, I’m stopping.

    I’m reminding myself that I have time…that time is what Advent is about. It’s about waiting. It’s about not throwing ourselves into the nativity scene while there is still leftover turkey and dressing in the fridge. It’s about giving ourselves permission to start at a place that’s less than ready. It’s about taking a deep breath and realizing that our unpreparedness, our brokenness, our cobwebby corners and dirty floors are exactly where Christ is going to make his entrance…and that when Christ meets us in the middle of our mess, He makes it holy.

    Waiting is hard, I often tell my son. I know it’s hard to wait. I don’t like to wait, either. But waiting, especially at this time of year, is also a gift. A gift of room to breathe. A gift of a spare moment to sit and ponder and stare out the window without worrying about the crumbs under the table or the bread that needs to be baked. A gift of empty space that doesn’t have to be filled right away with a tree or neatly wrapped gifts.

    We have time to get there.

    I’m going to take my time. I hope you will, too.

    And…I’m fighting back against the holiday muzak with a playlist just for Advent, starting this coming Saturday evening. If this sounds like something that would help you create space and take time to wait during this season of preparation, feel free to come by and listen along.

    **Update: Here is the Advent playlist for your listening pleasure. You may need to download the free Spotify software to listen to the songs if you don’t already have it. Enjoy!