Posted by: Ingrid | November 29, 2011

Advent 2011

An Advent season that I would choose would involve silence and meditation, candlelight and choral music in a cathedral, time to ponder and write and read and contemplate.

Instead, we come upon the beginning of Advent 2011 with two little boys; both of whom need me for almost everything, both of whom are quite vocal about their real (or perceived) needs, both of whom I spend almost all of almost every day with.  Guess how well candlelight and uninterrupted prayer and silence fit into my life right now?  Maybe if I tell you that after three days of the tree being up we have still managed to not get any ornaments in place and that the remainder of the Christmas stuff is sitting on a chair with diapers that are waiting for folding you will be able to guess.

As embarrassing as it is, I think I am still trying to live parts of my life as though I had no family to think about.  Possibly more embarrassing is the fact that a lot of time it makes me mad that life has to change to accommodate extra people and their demands, even though I really love all three extra people in my life.  As if, logically, I could expect to have all of the quiet and sleep and exercise time I want as well as a husband, newborn baby and an active toddler who is such a very very two-year-old boy.

I am seeing and fighting again that old thought that to do things differently, without the detail and structure that I prefer is to “fail” at Advent.  That if the beautiful things of approaching Christmas time that I want to enjoy don’t fit between naps and feedings, and umpteen loads of laundry then there won’t be anything that feels particularly meaningful about the season and I will reach January with that vague sense of missing something as well as a profound sadness for what used to be possible and isn’t any more.  I suppose when you get down to it, I am still used to experiencing God through certain things, and when I don’t get to do those things it feels like maybe he just didn’t bother to show up.

I suppose what I am seeing once again that this is the life that I am called to love God in.  And some days I don’t particularly like that calling.

This life of mine.  This crazy chaotic life, in which I don’t know if I’m going to end up with 4 hours of sleep or 7 hours, but know that all of it will be in pieces.  Where on a “good” morning, we may all manage to get clothed and out the door by 10 (but of course the house will be a mess and who knows when I cleaned the bathroom last).  A life that is measured off by diaper changes and times through The Cat in the Hat.  This is where I am right now.  Sometimes it feels incredibly meaningful but that generally comes in brief glimpses and snatches.  Most of the time it is mundane and tiring and I feel like I just don’t know what I’m doing.  I’ve never parented a toddler before, and to tell you the truth, it’s a little aggravating sometimes!

But here I am at the beginning of the Advent season with nothing in its place and no ducks in a row.  I suppose that what I hope for most this season is that I will be able to more fully embrace my life right now.  I ask for the grace to see things with more creativity and humor (with perhaps less eye for detail) than I am normally able to do.  Most of all, I want to be more aware of the places in life where I see Christ being birthed and for this to be a time of truly longing for his coming and showing up.

Even if the dishes aren’t done.

Even if we still have an undecorated tree in two weeks.

Even if I can’t find time to clean the bathroom.

Even if the advent wreath won’t fit on the table for all of the papers and bills and books.

Even if I never manage to get all of the quiet time I would like.

Even then, in the middle of chaos and noise and toddler that wants to try and eat the fake holly, I want this to be a time when my heart cries out: Come!  



  1. that was moving and beautiful… and I am a staunch and devout atheist! I think the secret to balancing being a mother with one’s own needs is…

    … yup, I don’t know either.
    But I hear your struggle.

  2. […] I blogged earlier, what I really was hoping for during this past Advent was the ability to embrace the season where […]

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