One of my friends 'invited' all of his friends to join him for 24 days of Advent blogging. I really enjoy reading his blog, 'Work with Hope", because he has such an interesting perspective on everything. I've decided to join Greg, so you can blame him if you get sick of daily posts about random stuff throughout Advent!
This is the first time in 17 years that I have not worked at a Catholic Church during Advent. I feel very much out of sorts...well, that is probably not really true in a 'daily' sense, but it is very real to me right now.
I usually have taken Thanksgiving week off because I'm gearing up for enjoyable visits from family and friends during this time of year, so I guess I didn't miss much this past week.
Today, it really hit me.
Kevin and I went out looking for snow cables for my car this afternoon -we are getting a big storm this week- and in one of the stores, the sales person was chattering on about how she was so excited about 12/12/13 which is coming up soon. She said, 'it must be a holiday, I LOVE 12/12 and I always celebrate.' I said quietly, "We celebrate 12/12 because it IS a holy day- the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.". I immediately teared up and thought about so many Advent seasons in the past where the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was such a big part of the life of the Church...and my own life. She looked at me a little strangely and I knew she had no idea...
But, I knew.
I know that the Novena to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe starts on December 3. I know that many people have been fundraising and preparing for the feast since last December. I know that many people are starting to prepare tamales and gathering ingredients for posole that will be a big part of the food for the celebration. And- I know that many of them started praying the Rosary in October-for 40 days- in preparation of this celebration.
I know it- but I don't feel it this year. I don't see it around me, I don't know anyone who is excited about it here, I am not connected to the Church community who prepares for this celebration...it's just not there this year. I am not preparing for Advent by Candlelight, or the Prayer Journey, Las Posadas, or the handprint Advent wreaths that children make to bring home to their families in Religious Education classes... it is so strange to just be an outsider from the daily life of a Catholic Church.
Oh, I still go to Church, but it's not the same. It's not really my parish and I'm just feeling like a visitor.
It was wonderful having our younger son, Chris, here the past few days- he helped Kevin to put up the Christmas lights. Plus the fact that he bought, cleaned, and cooked an amazing Dungeness crab (it's in season) dinner for us and our friends, Brian and Patty, on Friday night.
He's turned into quite the chef...takes after Kevin, I guess!! Ha ha! Well, we are both pretty darn good cooks...so, maybe he takes after both of us! He sure looks like his father, though!!
Today, we took down all the fall and Thanksgiving decorations, did all the laundry and did a general cleanup around the house. We dragged out the boxes of Christmas decorations and I've started to put them all out to cheer me up a bit and make the house look like Advent.
I finally felt happy when I found a place for our Nativity scene.... you notice, no baby Jesus in the creche...not until Christmas Eve!!So, feeling a little out of sorts, missing a faith community where I really belong, not sure how to make this season work as a visitor...but, I'm determined to get over myself and make it work!
Oh, and the title? Soon and Very Soon is probably my favorite Advent carol...'Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King, soon and very soon, we are going to see the King, soon and very soon, we are going to see the King, Alleluia, Alleluia, we are going to see the King!'.