Thursday, 18 December 2014

Belated Pause III: Scrooge alert!

 So, Advent. Every year for six years Catherine and I have been running our Preparing for Advent event, and this year we talked about the things I've put on here for Ang's wonderful Pausing for Advent blogfest. And I'll tell you what our Preparing for Advent has done for me. Gradually. Overwhelmingly.
 It has taken away Christmas! Not put the Christ back into Christmas so much as make the whole time a nonsense. A very nice nonsense, mind you. A glittering, funny, food-soaked few days. But to focus so much effort on so few days is now something I do because that's what my family wants. It's either about Jesus or it's not. If it is about Jesus, then it's a spiritual time, and Advent has become a very spiritual journey. If it's not about Jesus, then my next-door neighbour is right and Christmas has lost all its meaning and no amount of shortbread or snow cake will give it sense.
Last Sunday was our annual Mince Pies and Mulled Stuff open house. I spent all day Saturday baking. Yes, I know that if I was organised the baking would all be done, but you know me well enough now to know that this is fraise. So, I spend all day baking, and then all Sunday afternoon we have a house full of lovely loved and loving friends, new and old. And at the end I sat down on the stool in the kitchen and looked at all the empty plates and cups.
Then I looked in the drained-dry mull pot. It was rich in everything. Colour, scent, flavour, conversations had, laughter shared. I think that Christmas is for me now the juicy remains from four weeks of listening, searching, remembering. Advent is the thing I need. The mulling pot is where I want to be! Like Mary pondering words in her heart, I want to be mulling darkening skies and bare trees and silent nights. I don't want to focus all my attention on one or two or three days (if you count a Christmas Eve brunch) and then for all it all to be over in a bin load of wrapping paper and envelopes. I want what's left over to be rich: drained dry of expectation and soaked in the glory of God. To paraphrase Scrooge himself, "I will honour Advent in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."


Angela said...

I an still 'mulling things over' here -love the imagery of the dregs in the Mull Pot.
So very aware that this year life is quite topsy turvy- the post is bring Christmas cards, "Best wishes in your new home" cards, "goodbye & good luck" cards and "thank you for what you have done for us" cards
And like you, much of the season for me is spent in preparing events for others. I do not resent that one little bit- but sometimes feel just a teeny bit pressured!!
I think I am looking forward to 1am Christmas morning - Bob and I are both conducting midnight services, and so we will get home as the Day begins and have a few precious quiet moments together with the Newborn King. THAT will be precious.
blessings dear friend xx

Kezzie said...

Your post is beautiful and gets to the heart of the matter! Yes, let it be about the glorious preparation for Christ!

Pom Pom said...

Your warm heart contributes great joy to all, Mags!

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

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Left-Handed Housewife said...

Beautiful post, Mags! I dream of a Christmas season when I can spend my days pondering ... getting closer to it, I think.


GretchenJoanna said...

Part of me is looking forward to relaxing at Christmas, and the other part is grieving the related loss of focus and discipline. Your ponderings will help me to appreciate these last few days!

M.K. said...

Wonderful thoughts, Mags! I do think we wear ourselves out, not only with the preparations but also with the frenzied emotional anticipation, you know? We should be anticipating something more still, more quiet, and definitely more permanent to last all year. We should anticipate our own transformation as we kneel by the manger and see God's greatest miracle. You have done a lot, Mags, and i hope these last days before the arrival of the baby will be peaceful, rich ones for you.

Fat Dormouse said...

You do write beautifully and poignantly, Mags. Oh to have your skill with words!