Thursday, December 16, 2010

Odds and Ends

** Advent is almost over. How did that happen already? But, it's true. One week from tomorrow is Christmas Eve. (Boy, I wish Lent would go so quickly. Maybe I should start sending out Easter gifts and Easter cards and see how that affects my feeling that Lent is never going to end).

** Today, I had a wonderful phone call. I heard from the director of the institute where I took two classes this fall. I had written a long, detailed, factual but frustrated letter evaluating the one course I greatly disliked. He called to apologize for my having such a negative experience, and for the failings of his instructor. I was surprised, touched, gratified. It was a truly wonderful experience, to be heard, and to have my concerns meet concern in return.

And then he offered to give me full credit toward another class of my choosing. Truly, I'd never considered that. It wasn't something I would have asked for. But, I will gladly take a free class. I am happy just having been heard. The free class was the cherry on top!

** I am almost there. The boxes were shipped to the coast yesterday. The cards were mailed today. I have the final teacher gifts to wrap tonight, in time for the kids' last day of enrichment classes. Tomorrow, LilBro and I will finish up the lingering bits of shopping while the others are in class. Saturday night is our annual Christmas party; this year, we've opted to trade in the chaotic 80+ guest open house style for a much more intimate adults-only soiree. Excluding kids meant some good friends are unable to join us, but I am finding myself looking so forward to a quieter, more peace-filled, gentler Christmas party. Without dozens of young kids running around, I can light a lot more candles, set some music in the background, and plan to sit down and visit with my guests (shocker!) for a while. If it turns out even 1/4 as good as I am imagining it, the no-kids party will be our new holiday tradition.

** Yesterday, my good friend asked how my Advent was going, and I almost said, "what Advent?" It's been so chaotic, with so many different balls in the air, that I've hardly had time to consider Advent beyond a few small posts. But, that's ok. I am still praying. God is with me, and I am anticipating a quieter Christmas Eve this year, time to sit by the fire, watch the tree, and count my blessings. And, I am escaping, once again, to Vision of Peace, for a few days at the beginning of next week. I have some work to get done, projects needing attention. But, I also plan to sit, to be still in the chapel and soak up the Divine Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I plan to welcome Emmanuel in my own little way, so that by the time the Christ Child joins us at mass on Friday evening, I will be present, in the moment. Even if the rest of my Advent was less than I would have liked.

** What about you? As Advent begins to wind down, how are you preparing your heart to greet Jesus Christ? What is standing in your way?

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