It's a truism to say that Decembers are hectic. But it is doubly so for me and my family. I have two children, both born in the month of December, 7 days apart (the 10th and 17th). This wouldn't necessarily be so difficult if it wasn't for the fact that these birthdays mean that my wife and I get little time to unwind from Thanksgiving before we are thrust into the treacherous waters of birthdays . And just when the last birthday (my son's) is over, we have Christmas only 7 days away with all of its familial entanglements to contend with. All of this during the time of the Christian calendar that is suppose to be about waiting and expectation. I can hardly wait until its all over.
Because I've started blogging, I've peruse other blogs (both Lutheran and not) to see what works and what doesn't; standing on the shoulders of giants as it were. As you might know, the topic du jour is the Episcopalian Church and its, well, familial entanglements. I've read a lot about this the last 2 weeks. The amount of bile on this issue is truly astounding and very sad and painful to read about -- there but by the grace of God go the ELCA. This issue put me in a bad mood. Then I read this (#5) which agitated me more than I expected: First, it's patently not true and quite insulting; second I realized the distance between Protestants and Catholics is still quite large and doesn't look like it will be healed any time soon.
But what really irks me is that these things are happening at a time of year when Christians are to wait, with humility and expectation, the coming of the Lord. The Christ child. The Word made flesh. The Messiah.
Not the coming of the conservative, anti-gay, I'm taking my ball and leaving U.S. Anglican Lord; not the smug, self-righteous, One-True-Church Catholic Lord; not the I'm-ok-you're-ok, can't we all just get along liberal Protestant Lord. This is the coming of the Lord; the Word made flesh. The one who will, through his death and resurrection, reconcile a shitty world to God. A world who, like John the Baptist said, is "not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals". And this is how we prepare for his birth? (Weeping Jesus on the cross......). All of this is a terrible distraction from contemplating the miraculous and mysterious birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember as a child feeling, with palpable reality, the mystery of Advent. The specialness, the anticipation, the rich traditions which made Advent -- and of course Christmas -- a favorite time of year (the presents didn't hurt of course). Now everything seems drab and bland and quite distant. Inter-Nicene feuding, consumerism, work and family stresses keep Advent (and Christmas) just out of reach. I hope I can get a glimpse before it's all over.
P.S. I read this poem and I felt a little better. I like the way Marty writes.