Waiting for a baby in December in a little northern city, with snow falling and the neighborhood Christmas lights twinkling all but perhaps an hour or two of these short winter days, is kind of nice, actually. Well, if you are not the one nine months and four days pregnant. (Easy for you to say, my daughter will say. My son-in-law is ready to move on with life too, as he paired down his office schedule this week for the baby who isn't here yet.
That's Watch! pray! watch! in Bach's German from the cantata he wrote and that was first perfomed for the second Sunday in Advent in 1716. That year it was December 6. Three hundred years later I heard it in Chapel by The Lake in Juneau on Sunday Dec. 4. I will say it makes me feel grateful for my mother's emphasis on our church music education, but honestly?
"Charity - giving to the poor - is an essential part of Christian morality.... I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare."
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Yesterday, while I was setting up James' play tent and making a mess with the toys in the livingroom with him, my daughter knitted a complex patterned pair of mittens, started on some darling Christmas tree ornaments, and baked jam thumbprint cookies using her own jam. Halfway through she said, "This is what grandma's usually do, you know." And I said, "I'm good at reading stories."
It's raining, and the house smells like cinnamon (my daughter Eliza is baking granola) and the Christmas lights on the stair railing are twinkling and we are waiting for a baby.
That's what my neighbor Betty says about me sometimes-- "I know you are busy busy busy" and I always say "not really, I just have a lot going on at this moment. Friday I have nothing." Which is sort of true. I'll be sitting around waiting for my daughter to go into labor...
"So how do we feed and nourish our spirit, and the spirit of others? First, find a path, and a little light to see by. Then push up your sleeves and start helping. Every single spiritual tradition says that you must take care of the poor, or you are so doomed that not even Jesus or the Buddha can help you."- Anne Lamott in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
Chip and I welcomed James (2) up from his nap a half hour ago. He slept for three hours, mainly because we kept him up too late last night, and then this morning bundled him up and strolled (he walked and rode, we walked) to the playground along the frozen Twin Lakes bike path, just down hill from two of our daughters' homes.
"Reconciliation is holy work. Resistance is too. We need to watch and wait to see what God is calling us to do."
— The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies.
I was just reading that Emily Dickinson called November the Norway of the year. I wish. In lots of ways right now. But, as Nancy Griffith sings, if wishes were changes we'd all be in roses and children wouldn't cry in their sleep.