I usually miss the first Sunday of Advent at church because it is also the Sunday morning after my Saturday night birthday celebration. The last time I was in church for the beginning of Advent was 4 years ago, and I know that because it was the day the Alex, Fiona and I were baptized.
I had sort of planned to sleep in this morning, thinking of it as a birthday treat to myself. A "pajama morning" is a special favourite of mine, and now that Fiona is going to Saturday rehearsals, I have to be up and out the door pretty early on the what used to be pajama-newspaper-coffee day. And after an evening of good food and wine and staying up late, a sleep-in is a good thing.
Andy and I went out for birthday supper Saturday night (his and mine - his birthday is November 4, and he opted for a poker-with-the-guys night over a restaurant on his birthday weekend). It was very nice and long and slow and we talked and talked. Work is slowing down for him. XMen is still shooting, but he's not crazy busy like last November/December when they were rushing to get White Noise finished. Anyway, we had some good pasta and some beer but not too much and partway through I decided that I did want to go to church in the morning after all. I talked to him about it. After all, the sleeping in is partly a treat for him too. Being a morning person, I am inclined to spring out of bed like some crazy wind-up toy. Andy loves it when I stay and snuggle and snooze as he prefers to do.
I told him about how I feel about church on Sundays and what it does for me. Mostly it gives me courage. At church I am reminded of how I am loved and protected by God, and also of my responsibility to love and protect others in the world. It's not black and white. Most times I leave the service less certain but more reassured, if that's possible. I'm not positive who I am meant to be or what the ultimate meaning is in my life, but I have an idea of the direction I should be going, and reassurance that I am part of a community that shares that commitment. Reading the bible, praying, singing together helps me pick up a welcome burden and get on with it for another week. It also reminds me of how grateful I am for the world and the people around me and my own self.
Compared to that, a couple of hours sleep/pajama time just doesn't seem like such a great thing. Andy told me that he understands, it's okay, go. Thank goodness for that.
So I went to church and it was beautiful. Members of the congregation read passages about the significance of our various Christmas season symbols: the bells, candles, holly, poinsettias, evergreen trees. The bible readings were all about promise and waiting. The first of the advent candles was lit - for hope, and we all hung ornaments on the Christmas tree in the sanctuary. Best of all, for the first time since last year we sang the hymns from the first pages of our hymn book - the ones with the little numbers, for the advent season. I was reminded of why this is one of my favourite times of year, and I felt the same sense of mystery and promise that I did on the day of my baptism.
So there it is, my Sunday morning, filled with hope and glad for my choice.
question: none today
mompoet - blessed