I woke early to bake a simple bread made with macerated dried cherries. Tyler is downstairs practicing guitar. Jack is curled up beside me. He seems to be content to not be out walking at the usual time. We had such a lovely quiet Thanksgiving. We cooked and cleaned, napped, and then listened to jazz and talked. I am grateful I do not feel compelled to answer the ever present clarion call to begin the competitive shopping season.
When Tyler and I married 31 years ago, the date was November 27, the day after Thanksgiving. Since then, we have always celebrated our anniversary on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is an easy day to remember and an easy day to take off from our work duties. Often we go to the beach, but not this year. More rain is predicted, and I don't think walking on uneven sand would do my knee much good. For now, I am content to take in the silence and calm of this morning.
This coming Sunday marks the end of the church year, with Advent beginning December 2. As the bread was baking, I turned to a book that truly is an old friend, "Blessings of the Daily, A Monastic Book of Days" by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, published in 2002. Brother Victor writes eloquently of the peace that Advent can bring us, if we accept the invitation:
Unlike Brother Victor, most of us do not live in a monastery, and too often, the four weeks before Christmas are full of activities, list making, worry and weariness. I like that as a church, we can remind one another and ourselves that there is also beauty and mystery to be experienced at this time. We light candles and sing special music. We spend at least a minute or two in communal silence, and we listen to the ancient stories told again. We try to lift the words, hope, peace, joy, and love off printed pages and Christmas cards and live into them. As best we can, we ready our hearts, knowing that Christ is knocking at the door, even if our heart abode is rough hewn and stony. We learn again that angels sit right next to us.Once again, we arrive at the threshold of Advent and are invited by the Church to enter into the mystery that Advent represents. During these quiet four weeks that precede Christmas, the Church asks us to think, live, and pray in the spirit of Advent. But what is the mystery of Advent all about? Advent is that unique and privileged time of preparation for the great event commemorated at Christmas: the Incarnation of the Son of God and his humble appearance among us as a tiny child.
I am always grateful when Advent begins in December, rather than the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. We can indeed prepare to prepare.