My study is in disarray due to the painting project which I began right after the Thanksgiving holiday. My mornings since have been crippled by this situation. I anticipated the dilemma to some degree, but never imagined that it would be so traumatic. Normally I spend my first three or so hours each morning in that little space, pondering, journaling and reading. Without that space I tend to simply wander from one room to another in the house—never finding a “space” in any of them!
Yesterday I suggested that Advent is about “new things” breaking forth. I’m experiencing a few “new things” on this third day of Advent. I have a stiff neck from painting the ceiling yesterday, my arms feel like heavy weights from rolling the first-coat on the walls today, and my legs are bitterly complaining about the ladder. There was, once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, a time when such a simple project would not have fazed me at all. New things are happening.
The new things revealed to us in Advent are not always positive ones. Think, for a moment about Mary’s situation in Nazareth. Joseph, when he realized she was pregnant, was ready to abandon her and probably would have done so, if it hadn’t been for that dream. Just think of what they had to go through in their relationship to make it all work out. They also had to put up with their community, which like all communities ever since, enjoyed a good scandal.
Then there was that tax enrollment business which forced them to go to Bethlehem when Mary’s time was very near. There was, too, that episode at the Inn—no room! Spending the night in a stable was not a very pleasant development—and just then the baby was born. New things are not always positive.
The stiff neck, sore arms, and aching legs are new developments—a new happening, a new chapter in life. They are not imagined ailments. I cannot escape them by entering “a misty realm of slogans and comforts which declare our problems to be unreal, our tragedies inexistent.” Yes, new things come in Advent and we adjust as Mary and Joseph adjusted.
|Perhaps more zip-lining over the rainforests of Costa Rica is in order?|