Are you an Advent Woman?
Advent is a woman’s season
Advent is the time of year when my hours are disproportionately occupied being wife, mother and daughter. Advent is when I sally out into the city to trade my time and money for meaningful tokens of regard for friends and family. Advent is when my hands busy themselves with the creation of domestic magic – the crypt, the tree, the stars, the angels. Advent is when I welcome home my middle son, who lives far away and comes to us but once a year. Advent is the planning of the Xmas Eve Dinner, the cutting, the chopping, the baking …
Spirit walks with me through these busy pre-holiday days and hours. But in my busyness I sometimes lose sight of the main reason for Christmas. My heart forgets to be welcoming of the Son, of Unconditioned Love made Flesh.
To remind myself of the real reason for Xmas, I’ve been sneaking a few minutes every morning to visit with the Women of Advent.
I’ve sat with the biblical women, the ancestors of Jesus:
– There is Rahab, a old Testament Mata Hari who offered safe harbor to the Jewish spies sent to reconnaitre the land before the invasion of her city; a prostitute!
– There is Ruth the widow, a Moabite descended from the incestuous relation between Lot and his daughter; a widow who slept in a field to snare her next husband!
– There is Bathsheba, whom King David committed adultery with and whose husband’s death he subsequently arranged!
– There is Mary, a pregnant and unmarried teenager!
I’ve sat with my fellow TribeWriters:
– Pamela who didn’t quite clean out her whole garage for Christmas and then lied about it.
– Kathleen who felt her Christmas expectations dragging her down.
– Janelle who is missing her oldest man-child and doing her best making a place for the newest man-child.
At these visits on the page and on line I was reminded that the harlot, the foreigner of tainted pedigree, the adulteress, the poor young woman … were all part of the One’s ancestry.
Helping to birth the One didn’t require perfection. It only needed a ‘Yes!’
Christmas is not about happiness and light, the sumptuous feast, the model family. Christmas is about the sinful being acknowledged, the unredeemed being accepted, our imperfect selves being held in love.
And yet … And yet still I forget!
Heart Guy, Middle Son and I were at the neighbourhood mall. We’d had a really satisfying home-style lunch at the Japanese restaurant and were waddling towards the escalators to get down to the car-park.
That’s when I saw her! She was by the entrance to the pharmacy, bent over on her knees, her head so near the floor I almost stepped on her.
Was she unwell? Did she need help? These questions flooded into my head. But I’d already stepped onto the escalator and it was bearing me away … Heart Guy was standing next to me, Middle Son behind. She hadn’t been badly dressed I told myself. She wasn’t poor. Perhaps it was just a passing fit of dizziness? I kept looking up as the escalator took me farther and farther from her.
When we landed on the ground floor, Heart Guy and Middle automatically turned right to the next flank of escalators towards the basement and our car. I hesitated. She is one of the hungry, she is one of the thirsty, she is the stranger, one of the least … I kept thinking. But I didn’t take the escalator back up. I followed my husband and son down and away.
On the way I caught a glimpse of a little girl squatted outside the bakery. She certainly wasn’t a beggar I thought, just a child waiting for her mother to be done shopping. But she was a pointed reminder from the One that I should have gone back up to that other person crouched outside a shop entrance. And then when we got to the car-park, there was another pointed reminder – an old man sitting on a bench, looking lost and vacant. By then though, I had hardened my heart. I told myself, he must be waiting for his ride, and climbed into our car.
When we got home, Heart Guy and I had a discussion about some children in Vietnam that he wanted to include in our 2014 giving program. Talking about that made me feel a bit better. Somewhat.
I beat myself up over the fact I hadn’t extended a helping hand earlier in the day. I angsted and I agonized.
And then, I remembered …
Christmas is not about happiness and light, the sumptuous feast, the model family.
Christmas is about Unconditional Love, the sinful being acknowledged, the unredeemed being accepted, our imperfect selves being forgiven.
I gave myself over to love, I said ‘Yes!’, I let myself be forgiven.
I became once more an Advent Woman.