Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I bumped into a great article about Advent blog-surfing and really liked it b/c it gave me a mental place to go.

I really like this one. Probably mostly because it speaks to some of the emptiness that permeates my own soul during the Christmas season. For the record, much of my childhood was rooted in alcoholism and violence. Often I find myself overwhelmed with thoughts of, even though my life is pretty boring and staid during the holidays now, “Who’s having the Christmas from Hell now?”. It really eats on me that I know, deep in my heart, somewhere some other family is most certainly dealing with drunken tirades, beatings, food being thrown, Christmas toys being destroyed “just because they can.” I have never really chased that doppelganger away from my mind.

Don’t get me wrong. I feel so lucky in so many ways b/c I have been able to not only get past a lot of things in my life but thrive (with God’s help), but it still doesn’t change the fact this is always an emotionally tough time of year for me.

I really needed to hear that there is a “spirituality of emptiness.” My entire adult life has been one of “making peace with Christmas,” at least in the secular American sense of it. I have spent so many years of my adult life running from the pain of it all and mentally flailing out at the phoniness and greed of the season, of all its broken promises and the feeling if you are not “happy happy joy joy” there is something wrong with you. Then, about ten years ago, I realized that in order for me to fully understand the meaning of the season I had to strip myself of visual distractions and see value in what was right around me at this time of the season, unvarnished, and to use the right combinations of seasonal music to take my mind away from the commercialization of it all and focus my mind more towards Advent.

Then there’s my donkeys. I have to take a minute to tell you about my two jennies. (female donkeys, for you non-rural folk, are "jennies.") You don’t know how much my donkeys make me feel good about the season. I have this slightly goofy notion that every donkey knows something we don’t about Christmas, and they’re not telling. The lowly ass plays a lot of bit parts in the story of Christ and the Bible is rife with symbolism about donkeys. I believe that God stuck something in donkey DNA that makes them special in that regard. There is nothing I like more out at my place to look out at my two "donks" grazing in the starry winter night sky. I can look at them and feel my soul literally transported to 2000 years ago. They truly make me feel connected to Christ in a way I cannot entirely explain but certainly can feel. This sounds really goofy, but I can pet them and look into their eyes and see the reflection of the Christ Child this time of year.

Well, and this year the column in the link above gives me some thought. I don’t have to hide from my emptiness, I can use it to understand the emptiness in the world before Christ’s birth. Instead of running from secular Christmas, instead of beating my demons with a stick year after year, I can keep moving towards embracing the power of Advent. That is a power I never considered in quite so full a sense until I read this column.

Blessed Advent, y'all!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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