In October we had the chance to visit the Benedictine monastery Mt Angel Abbey. It was a blustery day, but the sun did finally come out. We walked the grounds, enjoyed the views. Joseph kneeled and kissed every statue he found. Then we went to the bookstore cafe to warm up with hot chocolate and muffins. They even sold index cards, so we could draw a bit!
Now any visit to a monastery that includes an active toddler is going to be…active. There were no extended times of stillness and silence. Yet the morning was full of wonder and reverence and blessing. May this New Year be likewise full.
This morning dawned bright, clear, and WARM! It’s a Christmas miracle. Tomorrow is set to be even warmer. Perfect weather for raking up the last of the leaves, cleaning out gutters, and getting the outside of the house ready for the rest of Winter.
Today AP of my heart took the big kids downtown to the art supply store. They didn’t have any big lists, they went to look around, see what’s there, soak up a little Downtown culture at Christmas time. That left Joseph with me!
We promptly turned on the radio and started wrapping presents. Our local classical station broadcasts on the internet, so *you* could be listening along with us! Through Christmas they are playing a Festival of Carols. It’s lovely music to accompany your present wrapping or hot chocolate next to the tree. On Christmas Eve they’ll play Lessons + Carols live (live!) from Cambridge. It plays at 7 am here on the West Coast. It’s a singular treat.
I’ve been thinking about praying the O Antiphons during Advent for a few years now. But for some reason none of the prayers that I had read seemed to call out to me. So the idea languished. Until a few weeks ago when Celeste at Joyous Lessons wrote a bit about the changes coming in the Morning Basket during Advent.
From December 17-24 there is a prayer that addresses Christ with a different messianic name each day–O Wisdom, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David. Jennifer has paired the prayers (in English and Latin!) with lovely art work, a corresponding verse from “O Come Emmanuel,” and simple suggestions for food that underscores the day’s focus.
I’d love to hear if you plan on praying the O Antiphons as well…or about any other devotion that turns our hearts again to the coming of the light.
What you do together isn’t the most important thing. It’s committing to shared experience. It’s setting time apart. It’s closing up the laptop. It’s creating a strong family culture. It’s giving the gift of your presence.
Our to-do lists seem to get longer even as the days grow shorter. If you are eager to meet this coming holiday season with grace and expectation, come away and spend a little time reflecting, planning, preparing.
After you subscribe to One Deep Drawer, I’ll send you a copy of Keeping Advent. It’s a 20 page ebook filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful ideas to help breathe a little new life into your Advent celebrations.
Rahima Baldwin said that reverence and gratitude form the basis of our spiritual lives. That if we can approach life with reverence and respond with gratitude, we will be able to lead our children as well.
Late one night as I was sweeping up the kitchen, I realized again that I was spending my life cleaning up messes that would be made new in the morning. But I was doing it because I wanted to show forth my thanks not only with my lips but also with my life. I was grateful beyond words for the lives that had made this mess. It was reverence for these lives that had me re-making our home.
No one understood the connections between reverence for life, profound gratitude, and a life given over to service better than Dorothy Day, whose birthday we celebrate today! She made life on the edge of the Bowery in New York City beautiful by offering a cup of coffee and a bowl of soup to the least among us.