Blogging Advent, with friends

I’ve been writing … just not here. It’s been a season of heavy editing on a new version of work from my dissertation, which should be under reconsideration by the nicest acquisitions editor in the world by the end of the year. I have one chapter and a slew of study questions to go. Good news.

The better news is that it’s almost Advent, that season leading up to Christmas. This year I was thinking about trying to do a blog entry for each day of Advent, and — while at lunch with a dear friend today — thought of inviting friends to blog along. So … tonight I worked on putting up a new blog that you can all join in on!

Come on … keep me company. You know you want to.

The new blog, “… Make the rougher places plain” and its first entry can be found here. I’ll be cross-posting entries to both blogs so if you just want to read my entries, you can find them here. But it’ll be more fun to pop over to Rougher Places and see what other folks have to say … and to write/link/upload something yourself!

Without further ado … here we go.

As a latecomer to the liturgical seasons, I was a full-grown woman when I first experienced Advent, and fell in love with it. Counting the days leading up to Christmas in prayer and companionship, silence and celebration — this was the perfect antidote to holiday madness.

This year I want to experience Advent day by day, reflecting on texts for the day in word, picture, perhaps song. I invite you to join me (logistics below). Each night I’ll post texts for the next day; you can respond as you are inspired, with your own writing, images, music.

The title for this blog comes from an Advent hymn, one of my two best favorites: this line is from Comfort, comfort, O my people, whose text was drawn from Isaiah 40. (The hymn tune is called Geneva.) My earliest recollection of this hymn is from my first Advent season with Peace Mennonite Church in Dallas, Texas; Duane Ediger was leading the singing, and drummed a staccato beat for an a cappella rendition. Oh, the joy of singing when surrounded by voices lifting yours higher and stronger! … make the rougher places plain …

The blues, purples and mauves of Advent push back against the glittery gold and red and green of Christmas, saying not yet, save the carols, think again about what is happening and what it means. Don’t hurry; the days go flying by fast enough. Rest a moment in that time, just after sunset, when the sky is still glowing a deepening blue and the increasingly leafless trees stretch their black branches and twigs into the sky, fracturing eternity from the earth up.

Tonight, driving home, I was wondering where the moon was; it has been glowing full paper-white these last couple of nights. And then I came around a bend, and everyone in the car said “There it is!” A swollen ginger-snap of a moon, orange and full-faced, laughing almost … we drove toward it, traveling westward to home, watching the moon sailing through dipping power lines, over close-cropped pastures and blanketed horses, winking through lacy pines.

Seeing, really seeing our world in all its beauty helps when we are in the rougher places … not enough work, too much war, governments that pry at us and hide themselves, thin communities, stretched families, not enough and too, too much.

Let us each look, each day, for what will make the rougher places plain — plain enough to see the love trying to ease through tight smiles, the love that glows even after sunset, the love at the heart of all the world.

“Comfort, comfort, O my people, speak of peace, now says our God.” (This version is too red-‘n’-green-‘n’-organ music, but they’ve got the right beat.)

Welcome, Advent. Welcome, friends. Let us speak peace to one another, peace when we can, and love always.

= = = = =

Logistical note: If you would like to contribute to the Rougher Places blog, please let me know. If you are a wordpress.com user, I can add you by way of the email address you use on WordPress. If you are not a WordPress user, I can still add you; I will need your email so that I can send you an invitation. When you use the invitation to sign up for a WordPress.com account, you’ll automatically be listed as a contributor to the blog. (More instructions later after someone takes the plunge and we can report back how it works … 🙂

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