By: Robert G. Hetherington, Priest Associate
Weekly Advent Reflection, Sunday, December 23, 2018
By: Caroline Moomaw
I am both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. Christmas has always intimidated me. My perfectionist side wants to find the perfect gift, make the perfect holiday dish, and have the perfect holiday card. My procrastinating side waits until Christmas Eve for the gifts, the day before the holiday party for the delicious and unique holiday dish and paying for express shipping so people get the cards before Christmas is over. I am my own WORST enemy.
Three years ago, I was on the verge of my due date with baby number one. Being pregnant in Advent was a bit of a priority check. It forced me to not procrastinate AND to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. The things previously mentioned are nice, however, they are not what the season is about.
Upon reflection, most of the things I had focused on before seemed so trivial. Looking at it again, I realized that many of the people that I cherish the most are born in and around the season of Advent. I realized that Advent is a quiet time to show the people you love how much they mean to you.
I find myself here again, three years later. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of not one baby, but two. I sympathize with poor Mary. I can’t imagine riding a donkey many miles while being 9 months pregnant. I am thankful that I do not have to, especially with twins.
I think that I was meant to have children around this time. I needed to be forced to slow down, cherish the calm, and focus on the important things. I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life; my amazing husband, my sweet little boy, my loving and supportive family, my warm home, my wonderful job, my church and my faith, just to mention a few.
Advent will forever bring so much warmth to my heart. It is the time that I was forced to patiently wait for the greatest blessings of my life, my children. It is a time for me to reflect on my life, the people in it, and also the changes that are coming. The wonderful, wonderful changes.
By: Amelia McDaniel, Director of Children’s Ministries
I like to go back and read books again. Books I have loved. Sometimes the re-reading is nostalgic. Sometimes I realize that I no longer identify with the characters the way I once did. And sometimes I am astonished to find that the rereading reveals a whole new story to me.
I make a habit of rereading To Kill a Mockingbird every few years. Each time I read it again a new facet of the story comes into view for me. And I fall in love all over again with it. I’ve loved Scout as someone who identifies with her, as a big sister to her, as someone who wishes she had a momma to love on her. I’ve loved Jem through the eyes of a sibling, and through the eyes of a mother to a son. My last reading of the book had me enthralled with Atticus and how he struggled to care for his children alone and explain a world that in so many ways is inexplicable.
So when I was rereading today’s Gospel, with different eyes from the last time this story came up in our lectionary cycle, I was struck by John’s screaming out at the people around him. John, who from the very beginning was in on what God was doing with Jesus. John who leapt in his mother’s womb when she was in the presence of Mary, still carrying Jesus in her own womb. John whose fire and zeal led him to the to tell people to get ready. That God was going to do something new.
By: David H. May, Rector
For about ten years, from my late teens to my late 20’s, I tried to make it as a professional actor. When people find that out, one of the things they are most curious about is, ‘how do you learn all those lines?’ It’s actually not that hard. Well, that’s not completely true. Depending on the part, it can be pretty hard. But you just have to do it. That’s what rehearsal is for. You have to get all those words and all the movement down pat so that once you open, you can repeat the performance over and over again. And you have to repeat it exactly. Any actor who thinks it’ll be a sign of artistic genius to ‘go off script’ and improvise and make up lines during a performance will find themselves replaced. Of course, there’s room for artistic expression. But there’s no room for changing your lines or leaving them out or making up your own. You have to stay on script.
The only reason I bring this up is that while staying ‘on script’ works great for the theatre, it doesn’t work quite so well in real life, at least not eventually. Here’s what I mean. We all grow up in a cast of characters that includes – if we’re lucky – first our family and then our neighbors, kids in school, then characters in the town or city. And as we grow up, we learn rules about the plot lines of the life we’re living, some history about where we come from and where we’re going and why; we learn about various heroes and villains; we get a moral sense of good and bad, things like that. Most of us eventually have a pretty reliable script that we turn to to know our lines in any given situation.
And maybe most of the time the script we’re carrying around more or less works most of the time. Until it doesn’t.
By: Robert G. Hetherington, Priest Associate