q Ordinary Time XLI - Eileen Campbell-Reed
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Advent Eve

I’m writing late and posting this prior to the start of Advent. I’ve been at this blogging-twice-weekly for two years now. That’s 190 posts. A few with pictures only. Some original poetry. Lots of stories. Original photos with nearly every entry. Some music and movies and other pop culture texts. A lot of lectionary texts. A few breaks for vacation and Sabbath. Some six-word story pictures. And topics that have ranged widely, yet try to hold together a spiritual center and hopefully a quality of silence that supports each entry with a sense of the sacred, but without too much preoccupation with seriousness.

In these two years some things in my life have not changed. Others have. We are still singing Silent Night to our daughter every night at bed time. I noted how I’d been doing just that for a year when I started this blog. Now my daughter is five and she can read the words for herself, but she is still content to hear that song and several others every night before sleeping.

I still live in the same house and I have mostly made peace with that. We’ve made a number of changes and improvements to the house over the last two years. And that helps make it work. Today was the one “Advent moment”  that my house gets this season. We heaved our daughter’s collection of stuff all into one room and attempted to make a straight path through the desert . . . bringing the mountains of books, toys and games low and lifting a tree and candles up out of the rough and rugged places . . . to take Isaiah as a point of departure. The resulting order and clean are helping my frame of mind even as I reach for something more profound to start Advent.

I’m still learning my way in what constantly feels like new work. For nearly three years I’ve been exploring with pastors what it means to do the work of loving and leading faith communities. This season of the year makes me long for the days when I planned and led worship myself week by week. I miss the layers of meaning in stories and sermons and music. I miss the ritual power of convergence and standing in the midst of it all during moments of gathered worship. Fortunately the faith community I call home gives me an abundance of such moments, and two wise and graceful pastors who lead and accompany us. The last two years since I started blogging we’ve felt significant losses as a community. I can’t imagine getting through them without this village of faithful loving friends.

Since beginning this blog I’ve also been writing many other things. A part of my reason for blogging is to sharpen my skills at the levels of story-telling, voice, practicality and consistency. The largest writing project I’m pre-occupied by is of course my book. It is nearly completed in draft form. And my energy goes into cutting and tightening at this point. I’ve had numerous opportunities to present and talk about that work, and I’m excited to get it finished.

The next few weeks – Advent and beyond – are full to overflowing with travel, teaching, presenting academic work, interviewing more pastors, family celebrations, and the usual rhythms of life in the holiday season. As I go through the season I’ll be listening to Anar, new album by Marketa Irglova, and I’ll be reading Sunlit Absence by Martin Laird. You’ll hear more about both if you find your way back here.

May the peace learned by waiting settle into your heart and mind this Advent season, as we wait again for the presence of Christ to fill us.