Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent 2013


             I have become more and more grateful for the Advent season because I realize that so many times we place heavy expectations on Christmas Day, but never put as much emphasis on the preparation for the birth of Christ.  People become caught up in their own preparations for Christmas with the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, and Santa Claus, and Christ is an afterthought.  So many are then disappointed when Christmas Day arrives and does not resemble a picturesque scene by Norman Rockwell.  It seems that so many people place the celebration on anything and everything but the true meaning of the holiday season. 

For this writer the Advent season serves as a gentle reminder to slow down my hectic pace, spend time in quiet reflection, embrace the cherished news from the prophets of old, and take each day one at a time.  Over the past several years "one day at a time" has become my daily mantra, not just for this season but for all the days of my life.  I too become overwhelmed by the "busyness" of this time of year so my mantra must replay throughout these busy days.  And if I fail, which I sometimes do, I take a breath, reboot, and begin anew.

  When Melissa was born in 1981 I began purchasing books to read aloud to her, knowing that as she grew she would eventually be able to read them for herself.  One of the books she and I have thoroughly enjoyed is Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory," which I bought after we had watched the film of the same name on PBS.  If you are unfamiliar with the book it is autobiographical and based upon his early years in Alabama.  The book spoke to me because it is set where I grew up in Southwest Georgia.  The story takes place in the 1930's, and while I was not alive then, I was reminded of my mother's stories about her childhood during the Great Depression.

Capote was living with an eccentric older cousin known for making fruitcakes each year.  As a seven-year-old boy he would accompany her gleaning pecans, on visits to the store, and yes, even the bootlegger, before baking her cakes.  This particular eccentric cousin became his best friend. 

The story is amusing, poignant, and somewhat magical as they prepare to makes kites for one another to exchange on Christmas Day.  Then on Christmas afternoon they would go into the nearby field and fly their kites.  As years passed Capote was sent away to military school, the cousin aged, and... you'll have to read the rest for yourself!  As I remember this story that Melissa and I found together I am yet again reminded that the simple things in life, even in this busy season, can bring us the greatest happiness!  My prayer is that during the Advent season I will seek the calmness of hope rather than the pressure of frivolity and the love of the Christ Child rather than the pull of this world.


- Janis Lewis


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