No longer having small children, eager to open tiny doors on calendars or make paper chains counting the days till Christmas, I am observing Advent quietly, in my own heart this year.
"The Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader"...a tool to be used in the art of the mindful Christmas season. I've owned this for years, and always enjoy it. Each day of Advent contains a sumptuous piece of classic art (Rembrandt, Roubillac, and more), a devotion, interesting facts about Handel and the Messiah, and one track from an included CD of the whole of Handel's Messiah - I simply savor...really hear....one part of his magnificent oratorio each day.
As I sit tonight, engaging evening prayer, I meditate on what it must have been like to long and wait for thousands of years for a promise from God. I know what it is like to long and wait for a few of God's promises to me. I think it was not much different for the Hebrews. It was personal. Sure, it was national, it was civil, it was a longing for a King...but it was also a personal longing for freedom from every hint of captivity. A longing for validation...and yes, vindication. Each Israelite wondered, "Will I see the fulfillment in my lifetime?"
It was a mournful wait, for millenia.
Oh come, oh come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel... how utterly fitting, the minor key of that profound carol.
Well, night has long since fallen here in east Tennessee - my fireplace is burning, and I'm bursting with the urge to sit and quietly talk of cabbages and kings with you. I have so much to share - blessedly, I can share it with pictures, which everyone knows are worth a thousand words. It has been an unbelieeeevably full week, last week. Come. Sit. There is literally an empty easy chair beside me.
Jonathan's parents, Tom and Amy Howe, who we had over for lunch. I love them already.
...followed by a trip to David's Bridal later in the week, to get the dress. The. Stunning. Vintage looking. Breathtaking. Dress. Once you see this little bride on her day, you will never be the same. (Can't show the dress, of course, but here is Sarah, ordering her...underpinnings. Ahem.)
Hannah, taking a moment to pose for me while she helps daddy put up the tree. The cardboard boxes are our nativity scene. I put up our artificial tree about two days before Thanksgiving, then we decorate it whenever we can get all the grown kids together, which happened to finally be yesterday. Sorry to gush about my girl, but doesn't she look like a model??
Youngest son, helping me put together my very first "front porch tree". Yes, my friends, I am also squeezing in a tree on my front porch this year. Let's just all get over it right now. I'm also making my own live, fresh green wreath with all the Harvest women this weekend...we're going to decorate the church sanctuary, and then head over to the Bower Farm to make hand made wreaths with greenery from the farm. My porch is already decked to the gills, and yes...I'm also...in addition...in the spirit of tasteful abundance...squeezing in this tree, and another wreath. Soon.
Kevin Cunningham, missionary to Columbia, ministering in Harvest Church yesterday. Tim and I so, so enjoyed fellowshipping with this gentle, Godly, sincere man - who has planted about seven churches in Columbia. He's the real deal - so is his wife. Harvest Church seems to collect prophets, evangelists, missionaries...and pastors...who are down to earth and accessible and real.
And his gorgeous wife Christine, whom you'd never imagine has grandchildren! We shed instant tears upon hugging one another yesterday, and shared honestly from our hearts together about recent events in our respective lives.>
All the newly-marrieds, and about-to-be-marrieds in the family...together for the trimming of the tree last night.
Sarah, putting one of her ornaments on that tiny tree...(no room for a tree as large as this mother's heart!)
Tim, fixing my jeans...with a tool. Tim the Tool Man. It was a funny interlude...a happy thing...there was an emblem riveted to the pocket of these jeans, and I despise wearing emblems. He said he could fix it...and he did. Emblem gone. My hero.