Advent

In Two Places at Once

I live about an hour and a half from the state border. If I wanted to, I could get in my car and drive north up to the big state sign and pull over to park. After zipping up my jacket and protecting my ears, I could exit the car and stand right next to the highway marker where miles are named zero.  I could turn to the west and widen my stance and strategically place one foot proudly in Colorado while the other foot could stamp down and stake claim territory in Wyoming.

co

One could be in two places at once.

This is holiday season number three without Dad and I’m finding myself in there – in two places all at the same time.

I’m living with more joy. I eagerly completed my Christmas card and mailed them this week (I’ve got ten left if you want one). I bought spontaneous tickets to White Christmas at the Performing Arts Center. We made penguin cookies with frosted snow and sparkle dust.  I’m going to The Nutcracker, making lists for gifts, and decorating the house cheerfully.

In each of these traditions and activities, though, exists the sting of grief, the remnants of loss, and the gluing back together of the places that broke when he died.

For Christmas cards, how do you address an envelope? With peoples names who live in that household, leaving one very important one out because he doesn’t live there anymore? It’s safer to lump and title the envelope ‘the xxx family’.

In a dark performance hall you notice the stranger sitting next to you and as his arm brushes your shoulder you think, ‘huh that fabric is scratchier than dad’s coat.’ If you lean your head on this man’s shoulder, you’re gonna get an uncomfortable look and a talking to.

Dylan stands on the ladder helping wrap the garlands at Mom’s house rather than Dad. Pecan crescents are missing from the fridge because really those are gross and no one would eat them but Dad.

I’m present and happy and festive. I’m also sad and aching and have room for the light that Christ promises he brings during this advent season.

I’m in two places at once and that’s a beautiful thing.

 

PS – don’t forget to enter the Give Light Giveaway. This year, it’s super easy to enter.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I went to church this morning. For the second time since my dad died.

I found it to be very comforting – reassuring to be with other people who are seeking God and seeking good and looking forward to new birth.

For some reason or other, this year I am very drawn to the concept of Advent. The preparation of the coming of Christ – and in the form of a baby no less. How humble beginnings lead to big things. How Angels surround us in our night. How stars can guide us to the King. I went seeking a story and connection to the season.

The speaker preached on something different altogether this morning, and I was a little disappointed.

However, as I sat in my folding chair, and listened to the Christmas hymns, it hit me for the first time, just how powerful the wish for “Good Tidings of Comfort and Joy” can be.

This year I need comfort and joy. While the holidays can be challenging after the loss of a loved one, they are also turning out to be a great source of comfort and joy for me and my family. Even if there are tears involved.

So tonight, I share some comfort and joy that I have experienced in these early days of December and wish you great tidings as well.

  • I am loving this rather irreverent devotional.
  • Starbucks has made a gingerbread store kit. I am a coffee addict, and a loyal Starbucks follower. For better or worse, this charming display of corporate charm has me giggling. My mom and I enjoyed the delightful hour it took to put this together. The box always looks more polished but hey, we tried.
  • A wine bottle warmer? Why does wine need a snuggie? Nevertheless, we wouldn’t purchase this for our wine but rather my mom’s small dog Ella. It would fit her perfectly. We didn’t purchase it, but we could have, because that’s America.
  • Puppy snuggles by my Christmas tree. Doesn’t it look like she likes reading too?

Take a listen will ya? What is bringing you comfort and joy? The search can be beautiful.