I've never watched for the Advent. I'm not even sure if that's the right way to say it. Does one celebrate the Advent? Does one "do" the Advent? I don't know. I only know that I need to participate this year. I need to get an early start of it, too. I should have started today, when I longed for my pajamas at 4:00 pm, even though I didn't wake up until 2:00pm, wondering how I'll survive another winter. Or I can start right now, post chocolate binge, feeling bloated and ashamed. And the Orthodox Church doesn't even observe (?) Advent!
I read a lovely 15th century poem that appears in the book "Watch for the Light. Readings for Advent and Christmas." It's a great anthology, if you can find a copy. Here's the poem:
Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn
Could but thy soul, O man,
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.
I don't know about you, but my night seems very silent. As silent and dark and cold as that night so long ago when a teenaged girl gave birth to God. I don't hear angels singing though, not in my silent night. I don't draw shepherds or wise men bearing gifts, I just seem to be sitting here in the frigid dark, stuffing Hostess Ho Hos in my mouth. Hey that's ironic. No Santa, but I still get the ho ho hos.
But I digress.
In this moment, I'm out of chocolate. Most of the family is asleep, and I'm in my room alone typing. I sit here thinking of the poem, and silent nights without the calm and bright. How I am, as the poem says, both lost and lorn.
It's good to take a second, have a good, deep prayer infused breath, and remember the Child Begotten, not made of God. To cast my eyes toward Bethleham and sing my own song, softly, watching my breath pierce the black air with puffs of white moisture.
Breathing. In and out.
Waiting. Praying for patience.
Watching. For Sweet Jesus.
Looking for the sign.
A Child. A manger. A Star. A Savior born.
Born in me.
Setting all things wrong, aright.
In this quiet, still and black night.