I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. I feel especially blessed that in my 55 years I've only been responsible for the whole dinner a handful of times, thanks to my mom and, more recently, my son and daughter-in-law.
For the second year in a row, my son did an amazing job on the turkey, a huge 21-pounder! There was a ton of other delicious stuff... gorgeous appetizers, casseroles, desserts.
I brought the cornbread dressing, my mother's recipe. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving for me without it.
(I also brought a green salad, but it was mostly for show. It takes up way too much room on a plate!)
Even though my mom wasn't strong enough yet to join us at my son's, she was too stuffed with turkey and dressing to eat any of the goodies we brought her on our way home that evening. I'm grateful for that, and for the staff of her nursing home who made sure the residents celebrated.
The next day we celebrated Thanksgiving again with friends. No skipping work-outs for me for the next few weeks, that's for sure!
Thanksgiving was just the first in this season of celebration. Yesterday was the first official day of Advent, a time when we (as in Christians) reflect on what we need to do to prepare for the second coming of Christ while commemorating his first coming - Christmas. A season for reflection of the past and the future.
A few years ago I googled "Advent" for another post and found a description on Spirit Home that I thought was perfect. I've chopped out bits to save space, but here it is...
Advent is a season of preparation. So's Lent, but it is a different kind of preparation. Lent is very adult and serious, because it leads to a death; originally, Lent readied new Christian adults for baptism. In Advent, we thank God for Christ's first coming, prepare for his final coming at the end of time, and celebrate Christ's presence among us today through the Spirit. God loved us and wanted to share that love. But this existence isn't well-suited for a god; it's too broken, evil, painful, unjust. So, to rescue the created world from this evil, God chose to come here and walk the earth, to grow up, to live the truth, and to die. The only way to start such a thing is as a baby, and the only way to be a baby is to be born. Hence Christmas. Because Christmas is centered in the new hope brought by a baby, it's a very child-oriented holiday. Because Advent leads us up to that baby, Advent is also child-oriented.
There's a time to get ready by focusing on your own sinfulness and wrongdoing, a time for personal transformation and following Christ to the cross. That's Lent. There's a time to get ready by rejoicing that our God is not far away and unfamiliar with the struggles of human life, that Christ is here right now among His followers, that God has already begun to bring in the Kingdom, and that Christ will come again to make it clear who really runs the place. That's Advent. "Lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the age", says Jesus.
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is."
~ Albert Einstein
I love that quote. And I do believe each day is full of miracles.
Keeping track of my sweet!s has helped me recognize them. Here are a few from the past week...
Monday: being able to start a new week and every new day with a morning walk; your mom agreeing to do her physical therapy
Tuesday: starting a new real estate class; a happy hour at sunset with friends
Wednesday: a blogger/writer friend's op-ed published in the LA Times; open parking spaces and short check-out lines when you procrastinate grocery shopping until the day before Thanksgiving; a pre-Thanksgiving phone call with your mother-in-law
Thursday: only being responsible for the cornbread dressing and green salad for Thanksgiving dinner; truly liking your daughter-in-law's family; creative appetizers; no traffic when you hit the road for Thanksgiving; another Wes Anderson movie with your son
Friday: the smell of fresh-baked brownies; sons who love to visit their grandmother; Thanksgiving Part 2 with friends
Saturday: three days in a row with no alarm clock; a "hello" from a raven on your morning walk; learning the difference between a crow and a raven; a silly movie with your son; finishing the edits on a special photography job
Sunday: referrals from friends; a spring-like day in winter; a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron disappearing over the treetops; two walks in one day with your puppy; your son calling to see if you need anything from the grocery store on his way home
Monday: the sound of the wind dancing in the treetops; your puppy running and running and running with joy and exuberance; spending a morning with a client viewing properties; a shadow-puppy/guard dog who follows you from room to room; your son getting a fire going when winter returns to your hollow
Beginning this Advent, I'm also going to work on being more aware and more supportive of my friends and family who are currently facing huge challenges. Time to pay it forward.
Whether you think about Advent or not, I hope your next few weeks are full of reflection, hope and joy.