An Advent space

My nose is cold, my tea is lukewarm, my feet are toasty from the space heater I keep stashed under my desk. The sky is dull and gray, the grass is green from this weekend's rain, the air is damp and chilly, and if it would just get ten degrees cooler we might actually have some snow (a girl can hope).

I have a notepad on my desk where I am trying to make my Christmas shopping lists. I have a few items stored up on Amazon and ModCloth to purchase for family and friends, but I still need to come up with a few more ideas before I place my orders, and I know that each day that passes increases my shipping costs, but hey, why bother Christmas shopping for loved ones if you can't commit to doing it well?

I feel a little tired. The last week has been very full of wonderful things: baking with friends, family birthday and Christmas celebrations, making space to do favorite holiday traditions while still collecting thoughts for sermons yet to be written, and meeting people in the congregation for coffee to talk about life, and taking the high schoolers Christmas caroling, and standing in the center of a whirlwind of generous giving projects in the congregation.

My head is in a fog. The approaching end of another year digs up lots of self-checks, where I measure my life's satisfactions and expectations. I think about how I love the home we have crafted for ourselves, but wish that we owned a house, I wonder about children, I try not to worry about finances, I want to figure out whether I am who I should be at thirty-one and a half years old, I take stock of the things that are important to me, and feel like I owe it to myself to come up with a definitive answer about exactly how happy I am in life.

Right now, I should be starting a sermon, writing a few thank-you notes, eating veggies and dip instead of snack mix, sorting out financial information for tomorrow night's council meeting, making a few phone calls, answering a lot of emails, and trying to carve out time this afternoon for a long run and some piano practicing before tomorrow's lesson.

But as it is in life, the faster I need to move, the slower my feet pick themselves up. The more tasks to do, the more energy it takes to start them. The more I need to be in motion, the more I dig in and try to sit very still.

All of this is to say that I feel in an incredibly Advent place today. Not the beautiful, candles-in-the-dark sort of Advent, or the cheery, "Christmas is coming!" sort of Advent. But the linger-in-wait sort of Advent, where everything that has been waiting has been waiting for far too long, and yet not nearly long enough. The space where the darkness is not cozy, but it is familiar, and it isn't an unhappy space, but it is a quiet one, where I want to sit out under the sky and look up at the swirling stars, and let my heart be quiet even as the planets spin on and on.

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