Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fourth Week

I'm trying to get away from the monster of "accomplishment" that gnaws at my breast this time of year. (I'm not referring to Raphael—I mean the metaphorical monster and the metaphorical breast).

During this final week of Advent, I am concentrating on moving peacefully amidst the great tidal wave of projects which I think (back in November) I can accomplish before Christmas —the baking, with all my floury, crumby, spready, spilly little helpers; the top secret knitting projects for a man with enormous feet, the handmade presents for godchildren, nieces, nephews, piano students...

See that baby down there? Oh good eyes! 
It is such a great comfort that the Son of God was born into poverty and squalor; that, as Chesterton points out, the rich and the educated (who no doubt had beautifully decorated houses and perfect baking) were the last to arrive at the manger.

This picture is from 3 weeks ago—we've since found pants for Matthias 
No matter what our house looks like or how many cookies we burn or how many handmade presents lie unfinished in the sewing room, Christmas will be beautiful, the Divine Incarnation will be beautiful...

...the most beautiful mystery, the oriens, the morning star rising in the East.

If I can remember to smile at the children (it's amazing how busy-ness will put a furrow in your brow) and enjoy them and their silly jokes and sing Advent songs while we work in addition to bossing them around, and if I can be Will's radiant wife, then perhaps the Divine Infant will find a home in our house this Christmas.

There are so many reasons to stop and enjoy the process, this "road to Bethlehem".

"Star in the East, the horizon adorning..." (shape note carol)
May your hearts be merry and your homes full of peace during this final week.


  1. Thank you Mary! I needed to read this tonight as I wade through 3/4-way-completed Christmas gifts (ack) and unfolded laundry towards Bethlehem.

  2. You should see my to-do list for today. The Christmas cards and home-made gifts (ahem) are at the bottom of it. My house looks a lot like yours and I'm just trying to stay on top of the laundry and dishes in order to make Christmas happen. Thanks for the reminder that Christ is coming, whether the house is a mess or not. I need, need, need this reminder every year. Smiling, singing, dancing with the children and brining them to the manger...this is the goal this year. Perfection? It isn't there. But what delight fills my heart as they plan their Christmas play in the background now while I finish up my computer work.

  3. I'm so glad my sister (Jenna) sent me to this post this morning. My to-make/to-clean/to-put-away lists have been threatening to drown me, and cause me to miss this beautiful opportunity to show my young children what Advent and Christmas really are. Today I will put great effort into un-furrowing my brow!