The eve of Christmas Eve
Not long now until the man in the red suit begins his trip from the North Pole. We’ve got the house decorated with lights on the outside, and a tree and a few Christmassy things on the inside. Some presents have already been given; the rest still need to be wrapped. But, my head’s not in the right space, yet.
Last week, we made our regular pilgrimage to the town of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. We sat in our usual spot and watched the families walking up and down. Some with human kids. Some with the furry kind. We chatted to as many as we could and smiled to see everyone being nice. It was a little reminder that it can be done. Strangers can actually be kind and friendly with others, even though many were of different colours and ethnicity. It didn’t matter. We were all there on a balmy summer evening to enjoy the town all lit up with colour, and to enjoy the festive season. We sat close by to where they held the nativity play, and we sang along with the crowd, waving our electric candles in the air.
It helped, but somehow it wasn’t enough.
I’ve been wondering if it’s because of the Wonder Dog. He’d snapped his cruciate ligament in his right back knee, poor wee beastie. So, last week he had major surgery and I’ve been playing nurse ever since. We were told he was to do “no running, or jumping”. That hasn’t worked out too well. I’ve been squirting the painkillers down his throat, quite easily. He looks at me with such hurt in his eyes. Just call me, Nurse Ratched. (My one literary reference in this blog. 😉)
No, I think it’s because this year – due to Jeff taking holidays in the only available slot on the calendar – we’ve missed the Advent season. There’s something about the ritual of lighting the candles in the Advent wreath; one more each Advent Sunday until the Big Day when all of the candles are glowing. The prayers and readings about hope, peace, love and joy, as each successive candle is lit, somehow prepares the mind and heart for Christmas Day. And, somehow, I think they remind us all of how to be better people. It reminds us of the most important things in life: loving relationships with God, with each other and even with strangers. It lifts the standard, as it were.
I hadn’t realised how much it means to me until I didn’t get to join in this year. As Joni Mitchell says, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.” (My only musical reference in this blog. 😉)
This year, watching Mr T dismantle democracy and undermine all the good things required for a peaceful, functioning society, I needed the moments of reflection and encouragement that the Advent season brings. Even more so, when I see our government trying to copy his financial policies.
Oh well. We’ll be back with our little congregation tomorrow, and we’ll be part of the lighting ceremony this year. Jeff will do the lighting and I’ll do the reading. I’m looking forward to it.
I hope you and yours have moments of quiet, peace, love, joy and contentment in this Christmas season. And I hope you have a New Year filled with promise that there are better ways to be, and there are still plenty of people whose heart’s desire is in the right place.