30 November 2008

and that fire hazard is once again hanging in the chapel

"ooehh, fire hazard" is how i greeted the first sign of advent that i saw. an advent wreath, with candles and pine branches, is hanging in the chapel. the evidence of my forgetfulness in blowing out the candles last advent is branded in a black circle on the floor of the chapel. and in the teasing i once again received about not being given responsibility to look after the candles and a reminder again that God has been watching over us, advent began for me.

and advent continued as i sang in church with the choir today. as i took my place with the choir, i struggled with whether i should be there or whether i shouldn't have chosen to be present at the baptism of a child born in the community. and in this struggle and the sense that things aren't quite how they're supposed to be, i felt a bit of advent.

and advent came as we sang "o come, o come Emmanuel." even though it's my favourite advent song, i had no joy in singing it today in church. it was too much something - too loud, too perky, too fast? it missed the feeling of longing, the feeling of sadness that something is missing - and choosing despite that to rejoice and hope. for that is advent: an acknowledgement that things are not as they should be. and it is a looking forward to Christ's coming(s): the first coming which brought hope and a bit of God's kingdom to earth and the second coming when God's kingdom will be fully here.

and colouring advent for me this year, is my anticipation of going (home?) to Canada this Christmas. as i anticipate my trip, i am reminded of how much i miss family and friends. and yet, i also know that as i stay with different people, delighting in visiting them and celebrating Christmas, i will also carry a bit of advent longing with me - for as much as i rejoice, i will also not feel completely home - and will miss the Christmas celebration here in Amsterdam, just as i miss celebrating with my family when i am here.

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