advent is probably my favorite time of the year. it's a time to prepare for Christmas and to sink into winter. the earth begins to get ready to hibernate, with a sense of expectation. for me, it's an expectation of Jesus and also, the expectation of our own little baby to come this summer. that's right, chris and i are going to have a baby! a friend of mine recently said that many times when scripture talks of waiting it refers to an active waiting. i am waiting and there's not much i can do to speed up the process but an expecting woman's wait is hardly idle. it's a waiting of preparation and anticipation. just like this advent season.
i also find a lot of meaning in the "sinking into winter". many of us go through mild (or otherwise) drepression during the winter and i am always ready to welcome in the spring time but the quiet, cold, dark winter holds so much depth and meaning. we try to use less electricity during the advent season in our house. we use oil lamps and candles when the sun goes down and it sometimes it really does feels like you're sinking...
i like this reading i found about advent:
"When the day dawns, let us all receive him. We go to the manger and worship. We give to him our gifts. We take his light to the poor. Until then, we are the poor, the weak, the blind, the lonely, the guilty and the desperate. We light candles because we who are in darkness are in need of a great light. We need a savior. So we wait amidst the ruins, we protect the lights we hold in hope. We sing to one who is coming. We look and wonder. We pray for his star to take us, once again, to the miracle."
i'm sorry for the month-long blog hiatus... you know how it is. during that time, though, we did travel to holland, germany and switzerland! we were able to go because of Jesus For President stuff. so chris and his co-author were mostly speaking at churches and i just tagged along. we had a great time and met great people. it is so wonderful and embarrassing that everyone (a lot of people) in europe speaks english. the catholic/protestant dynamic was also fascinating... i haven't learned much about it but i know that when chris mentioned we were catholic many found it shocking and confusing. the church is divided everywhere but i really felt the deep divisions in europe. knowing a bit about the history of the church in europe, of course, sheds some light on why things may be the way they are. we had some good conversations about it and i think that there are folks over there wanting to bridge those gaps.
so here are some photos! (they are not in order...)