I can’t believe it’s December already!
The gardens have been cleaned out (mostly) and the last of my butternut squashes are sitting in a sunny living room window. The temperatures have recently dipped below the freezing mark and we’ve even had a dusting of snow here in southern New England. Halloween and Thanksgiving Day have given way to the mad rush of Christmas preparations.
In the midst of making plans and checking lists, the season of Advent tends to slip by unnoticed. Not because it’s not important. But because our sights are set beyond it. Let’s pause and take one season at a time. It’s really worth it to slow down and appreciate the present, even as Advent celebrates the hope of things to come. One thing that’s helping me focus on Advent is a series of videos arriving daily in my inbox. They’re from Dynamic Catholic’s Best Advent Ever program.
A few days ago, one message really hit home for me. In it, Matthew Kelly talks about how life doesn’t usually turn out the way we expect. He calls it the unexpected life. (Watch it here.) For some reason, we judge our days based on how closely they adhere to our expectations. We make plans, write lists, schedule our time, and relax into a general sense of control over our lives. And we get frustrated, disappointed, or even irate, when things go sideways. What if we started each day instead with the notion that the unexpected is the rule, rather than the exception, of daily existence? Would that change our reactions? I think so.
The very day I saw that particular video was a day I needed its message. I emerged from a funeral mass for a friend’s mother only to find several text messages from my mother’s caregiver. I needed to take my mother to the doctor asap. Her doctor couldn’t see her and so instructed me to take her to Urgent Care. And that’s where I spent my entire afternoon, waiting for my mother to be seen, answering her repetitive question “Why are we here?” every twenty minutes or so. I found a new source of patience in the acceptance of the truth that anything can happen on any given day.
So, while Advent is about the coming of Christmas, it’s also about taking one day at a time. It’s about being present in the moments and appreciating the wonder and messiness and unexpected nature of life. And whether Advent and Christmas are faith celebrations for you or not, everyone could benefit from the messages they embody. So, happy December! And may you find peace in your unexpected life. 🙂