I generally appreciate the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. There seems to be a grace - I've noticed it often during Lent - that allows me to do things that don't seem possible at other times of the year.
This is the first year I've noticed that during Advent. For years past, we've had an Advent wreath on the table and lit it at some points during Advent - reading a reflection along with it. My boys tolerated it, I think, so they could blow out the candles at the end. Cheap thrill. This year, one night when I was afraid the power was going to go out due to the weather, I stuck some tired, used candles in the wreath. And that is what has remained. It is has been largely ignored.
I did though, have some plans for Advent, and I wrote them down at the beginning, in "The Little Blue Book". One plan was a return to a more structured prayer life, especially after realizing that my personal prayer life was being put way at the back of the line or not at all. That is going well. It is really not that big of a deal to put prayer BEFORE computer time. Reconciliation was next on the list. Check. Still have one of my offspring to arrange this sacrament for. He has decided that confessing to our parish priest is a little too personal. "He knows us too good, Mom."
Looking at ways to simplify gift giving has been another one. Going well. Sister and I simplified for the children and eliminated the adults exchanging gifts. I suggested donating to a charity, and she was alright with that. Hubby and I sent some financial assistance to a lady we know who struggles. She was very appreciative.
One thing at the bottom of the list - working on attitudes - remains a work in progress (or maybe it's not even in progress).
I was introduced to "The Advent Conspiracy" on another blog. Look for them on YouTube, if it strikes a chord. Their ideas are to "Give Presence". Worship Fully. Spend Less. Give More. Love All.
The theme of Mass today was Wisdom. From the Opening Prayer (that prayer no one listens to, says our bishop): ...May we live as he has taught, ready to welcome him with burning love and faith... That's what wisdom is, says our wise pastor. At the end of the Gospel, we see that "...Wisdom is vindicated by her works."
Throughout Advent the theme has been repeated that there are things God has done, things God is doing, and things that God will do in the future - if we let Him. There are things that happen "in the beauty of the struggle".
From today's Evening Prayer from Psalm 116.... I called on the Lord's name...I was helpless so he saved me..... It just sounds so matter of fact. Like, would he do any other thing. I call. I'm helpless. He saves. End of story. I turned the page and saw this gem from Psalm 121....My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. That was my mantra last year.
From today's Blue Book: If the Messiah was to bring freedom, and the Messiah has come, I should experience this freedom. Here. Now. And I can. It is the freedom of realizing that I don't have to be God. I don't have to be the Messiah.... All I have to do is my best, and pray and know God loves me. I can let God be God....and rejoice.
Hope you are all having a Blessed Advent!
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