It has been brutally cold here this week – our first true Alberta cold snap of the season, the kind where the air hurts your face and your lungs. We have very little snow which is so unusual for us and so all our winter favourites – sledding and both kinds of skiing are not happening yet. A few weeks ago we started skating because the girls have been asking for years to learn and with the lack of snow we thought why not? And so we have been skating once a week or so. I haven’t skated much since high school and I forgot it kind of feels like swimming, the lightness and freedom of gliding across the ice, mind clear for a minute or two.
This morning, on the way out the door to choir, a kiddo got sick in the garage, which I saw coming as she didn’t eat much of anything yesterday. I was hoping to spend the day going on a walk in the woods to bring clarity to my body and mind, among other things. Instead I spent the day tending to an under the weather kiddo. Washing dishes, watching lots of food network and reading stories together. The holy, fatiguing work of motherhood.
Today was a lot like all our days right now. Not very spectacular, in fact pretty darn ordinary. These days we are doing our normal life and not much more. Work, school work, keeping the house tidy, making meals, going to appointments, soccer or dancing and music depending on which kiddo and what parent you are on any given day. Trying to remember things like putting money under the pillow for lost teeth and showing up for parent watch night the right week.
I can’t remember an advent season so void of so many of our usual advent things. Aside from the lack of outdoor snow activities, we aren’t caroling or hosting anything or doing a lot of extra volunteering. We aren’t making cookies or doing almost any gift buying or making. I haven’t read the kids even one of our advent/Christmas books yet and I keep thinking about sending cards but not making any forward momentum.
For me this year, advent has shifted. Instead of doing and celebrating, I’m waiting and I’m making space. I’m trying to make room in my heart for something new to be born; exactly what I’m not sure yet. I’m reading poetry and I’m sitting in the dissonance I see in the world and in myself of so much hurt and also of so much beauty. I’m thinking about hands: held open, held empty, receiving God’s love. This sparser advent I’m having this year, it feels right, it feels fitting.
I have been watching the stars every night in a little bit of meditation. We are lucky to live far enough from the city lights, so that on a clear night the sky is absolutely brilliant. As I gaze past Orion or the almost full moon I can’t help but think about the universe and all it’s wonders constantly expanding, creation happening right this very instant when I look up. This advent I’m trying to open my heart to any iridescent knowledge they may want to pass onto me. I wonder if they are waiting too.