I have always been a big fan of Advent. Our church never really celebrated it. Now that I think of it, I have never been to a church that recognized Advent. In spite of that, though, I have been drawn to living out Advent with my kids. We put together different practises to make Advent our own. We never seemed to to have an Advent wreath but we always had Advent readings, our countdown to Christmas by opening wrapped Christmas books and taking chocolate out of the Advent boxes and spending time together as a family.
It seems that with every year, we are able to add a little bit more to our take on Advent. I was excited about this year’s Advent. I had actually bought five candles and cranberries to put together our own version of an Advent wreath. We had started an Arnold Yreetide Advent story at the end of November. We started our Christmas baking early this year so that we could make up goodie boxes for our neighbours and those who have had a bumpy year this past year.
Yes, I had it all planned out.
And then it all crashed around me.
At the beginning of December I became the latest recipient of a nasty, horrible, yucky, yucky cold. It has been over two weeks and I still have the monster. Admittedly, it is not as bad as it was in the beginning. I do not have to stay in bed all day but I still do not have the energy to do much and if I breathe too deeply I am plunged deep into the depths of coughing spasms. It is not pretty. My kids look at me warily when I am spluttering about trying to gain control of my hacking coughs. The worst, though, of this whole sickness is not being able to sing. When I open my mouth to sing this disturbing croak wafts in and out. There is no musicality anywhere in that sound. To go even further, not to be able to sing at Christmas hurts this song-souled girl deeply. What is Christmas without singing?
Okay, back to the Advent train.
The cold put a different spin on this year’s Advent. In simple terms, we didn’t have it this year. I didn’t have a voice to read our Advent readings. My head hurt too much to even listen to someone else read them. In my drugged and sinus haze, I lost the candy for the Advent boxes. I misplaced the Advent candles. Oh, who even had the strength to get the candles together to light them?
All my fancy Advent plans laid in ruins at my feet.
But this is what we did do for Advent: we were together. We laid scrunched together in my bed and binge watched (oh! do I dare admit this?) Pretty Little Liars (please do not judge my maternal ability on this alone.) We watched 3 seasons of that ‘watch one episode and you are hooked’ show. We acquired a rhythm to our days: we would watch a few episodes, I would fall asleep and the girls would extricate themselves from the blankets and tiptoe out of the room until I woke up and we would start all over again. Caleb would not lower himself to watch with us but periodically he would watch an episode to find out if A was caught yet or if Allie was alive after all. He was hooked, too, in his boy-man way.
So this is how we celebrated Advent. We didn’t follow through on any of the plans but we spent our time together as a family, enjoying each other’s company. And waiting.
Even so, Lord Jesus, come.