The months of November and December bring so much anticipation and happiness. I love singing Christmas songs with my students; decorating my house with warm lights, gold ribbon, and deep red cranberries. This time of year also gives me an excuse to spend extra time (and money--which is also fun) thinking about the people I love and trying to find thoughtful gifts to show them how much they are known and loved. I'm feeling childishly silly anticipating my brother's family coming to stay in our new house with us, my parents' house filled with many of the people I love most, all of the Corbins sitting around the Christmas tree in our red flannel pajamas...awaiting our presents and our Christmas morning feast, Bing Crosby singing 'White Christmas', burning candles, Lynn's cookies, Marianne's Finnish Coffee bread, wrapping paper and ribbon....
And this year, Christmas has also brought new joys...telling Maya the story of baby Jesus over and over again as we open the doors of our 'house' (Advent Calendar) each day, hearing her walk around the house talking about the 'babies'(always plural) the 'sheep' and the 'shep-sheps' the 'WISE' and 'Mare-mare' and 'Jose.' She particularly loves the Angel that is known as 'Do-Do' (also the name of her beloved Grandma Go-Go). I think the angel in our nativity set got her name for the song she
is always singing...."Glo----------ria, in excelsis deo...' Maya has also picked up on the Santa/ St. Nicholas Christmas themes....marching around yelling 'HO, HO, HO, Merr--.' She loves filling in the blanks as we read...
"Twas the night before __________,
and all through the ________,
not a creature was stirring,
not even a _______!
The _______ were hung
by the ______ (she thinks it's 'chin' and she points to own) with care..."
But November and December also bring a lot of chaos, stress, and extra work. I'm right in the middle of the long string of Christmas performances (and this year, I also added an overnight Choir trip last week).
This week will bring the last of the performances... Thursday night, my Elementary choir will sing, the strings will play prelude in the hall, and my High School and Middle School Choirs will perform. Saturday, the West Shore Symphony's Home for the Holidays matinee concert at the Frauenthal will end the chaos for me.
And then, peace?
There's other chaos too. Deeper, darker worries. People. I guess relationships and communities hold far greater destructive and wounding potential than responsibilities and full calendars could ever hold. Those work 'stresses' seem light and silly this year... in the shadow of so much loss and pain and disappointment around me.
But I do have hope. I think that's the point of Advent. Waiting, feeling the depth of our need. Recognizing the hopelessness... and still hoping because of Jesus.