ADVENT 4 In the Episcopal Church and many other churches, the weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent. It is a time of turning inward and preparing a place in our hearts for God to be born once again in our hearts just as Jesus was born over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. This week we celebrate Mary and Elizabeth. Mary - a young woman chosen to be the God-bearer and her cousin Elizabeth pregnant in old age who will give birth to John - the one who points the way to Christ in the Gospels. Click here for the reading. I ran across a wonderful painting depicting the meeting of these two women. The joy of the Spirit filling both women, strengthening them for the days to come. This is the amazing thing about Christianity - it does not promise every thing in life will be wonderful but it does promise that God is with us. That is the meaning of Incarnation - God in Flesh - in the "meat" of life, the fat and the lean, the juicy and the stringy.
On another topic - today my husband and I went on our annual "tree hunt." It is our tradition to cut our own tree in the nearby forest. He used to take the children and they would help him (depending on their ages). Some years it was slogging through chest deep drifts of snow, coming home triumphant and exhausted. Now they have moved away from rural Lander to the big cities. In the meantime, the Forest Service has opened up cutting in a place that is only a short walk from end of the road - so we were able to get our tree in about an hour - including buying the permit. Christmas is not my favorite season of the year - see my breaking of the ornaments blog for more on that. I put off getting ready until the last minute - good thing it lasts through January 6 - Epiphany - so I can get everything done. My Christmas letters are likely to be Valentine's Day letters at the rate I am going. Tomorrow we will decorate the tree. The best thing for me are the church services. This year we will do an Instant Christmas Pageant at Eden, Wyoming, then off to Rock Springs and a Midnight Mass. On Sunday we will have a 9 a.m. Christmas Day service. My Christmas began this year with a Service of Lessons and Carols where a young boy soprano began the service singing Once in Royal David's City. The BBC will have Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for those who have not heard it this year.
Another fun thing to do is Advent Calendars - found online in several places. Here are some that I like (click on them to link):
Tate the Cat
Washington National Cathedral
BBC Bach Advent Calendar
So Blessings of the Season be with you whatever spiritual path you have chosen. May the love that is at the heart of the universe fill your life and the life of the world.