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FIRST ADVENT
November 28, 2010
 
As always: in the dark, very early morning. A couple of cats. A cup of tea. And a turning again:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

I know the work of darkness I seek to cast away. It's the same one every year: the curious sloth that invades my writing life. I am a columnist whose columns are few, a writer who fills her time with other things and then whines about not writing. I could leave this world with things words unwritten and things unsaid if I don't get going, and I don't want to leave like that.

But then, most of us leave this world with words unsaid and things undone. There is the loaf of bread half-consumed, the library book someone else will have to return, the dry cleaning nobody will remember -- it will end up at the drycleaner's church rummage sale, I suppose, about a year hence. He needs the space.

Into this discouraging landscape comes news: you are not alone is your struggle to live your life. You do not face the works of darkness alone. No, you're not all-powerful and unerring. Yes, there are many things about you that you wish were other than they are. But fear not: you have armor. You have help in putting aside that which is not life-giving.

Christ comes "in great humility," we notice. The first coming is not a clash of cymbals, but a baby's cry. An infant, who can't even feed himself, who has no accomplishments, from whom nobody can expect anything. Good idea: the powerlessness we expect in four week's time is the powerlessness I feel. A community of love will raise this Child, a mother and father will care for him and guide him. He will not have to make it on his own, as I do not. And within His weakness, with which I identify so completely? Nothing less than the might that created the universe and everything in it.

Oh, let me write every day this Advent! Help me do it! Wake me up early for it! I am not up to it: my resolve alone is not equal to the task. But already I feel the stirring of your strength, in my body and mind. Year after year, you do not fail me.

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Today at 4pm: Fancy Meeting YOU Here: Music You Never Hear on the Organ, with organist Karl Watson, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 17 Oak Avenue, Metuchen NJ 08840. A delightful cap to your Thanksgiving weekend, and a benefit for Episcopal Relief & Development's work in Haiti. I'll be there -- you come, too.
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