Saturday, November 26, 2005

Advent I

O let us not, for evil past,
be driven from thy face at last,
but with thy saints for evermore
behold thee, love thee, and adore.
—from
Hymnal 1982, #63

Advent… time of preparation, the New Year in the Western liturgical calendar, and kairos time. I'm a literal person when it comes to the church calendar and my liturgy. I don't like Holy Innocents day coming before Epiphany and I don't like to hear John the Baptist yelling in the desert when he's supposed to be leaping in Elizabeth's womb. But that's how it is with kairos time, and I'm learning (painfully) to accept it.

My first year in community had a batch of challenges. Advent was one of the difficult times: I was heavy into comparisons with all my previous Advents… and the convent version kept coming up short. No Lessons and Carols, no shopping, no decorating for Christmas. It was a mini-Lent, and wasn't one Lent a year enough already?

Last year I came into Advent a week late and a dollar short. I'd just spent three months in Wyoming and I was happy to just be home. I still had rest time coming and spent much of it restoring a beautiful, but badly beaten set of creche figures that had been in our community since the 50's. The very fact that the sisters let me even touch these things, let alone repair them and paint them was both flattering and intimidating. What if I wasn't as gifted an artist as I made myself out to be? What if I made them worse than they already were? I tested the waters with the massive stone walls that enclosed the cow and donkey. I painted a little of the backside of the walls, mixing dry pigments with polymer, just as I had been taught so many years ago. Okay, didn't mess up there. I moved on to a Wise Man. So far, so good. It all came back. Besides, the pigments had once belonged to a sister who had painted (in fresco) wall-sized murals in public buildings… she was a legend in our community. I felt like she was watching over me. "You're not messing up with my paints, Sister Claire Joy!" Work on those figures became my Advent prayer.

This year I'm in a different place again. I had a hard transition from city to country in late summer and am just now feeling the peace that comes from turning yet another corner in the spiral dance of life. When I'm in a long stretch of spiritual dearth I can't see the corner coming until after I've turned it. I think I'm actually looking forward to a mini-Lent this year. (Go figure)

3 comments:

seeking_something said...

What is "kairos"?

Claire Joy said...

It's Greek, and describes a type of God time vs. kronos, which is linear (chronological) time. Type it into wikipedia.org and you'll get a real definition that may be more than you ever wanted to know.

Natty said...

Wow, that was a beautiful entry. Thanks for making it personal instead of just another dry "It's Advent, here's a quote from our readings" post. ;-)