The Advent Letters

Well, Lord,

It’s me again. I’m not sure what wisdom, if any, there is in writing you a letter because you knoweth all things, my sitting down and my rising up, my restless thoughts from afar. Still, I want to believe you enjoy hearing from me in this way because you made me a man who if asked “What is one thing you love?,” I would quickly reply, “I love to write.”

I also love Christmas. Yes, you knoweth that too. I confess, Lord, that when it comes to Advent, I’m all in, sorta. We lit the first candle today at church, and we’ll move bumblingly from wick to wick until we reach that wonderful 25th day. And while I fully honor the spirit of the Advent season, I cannot abide the law. That I would wait to sing some songs or hold off on decorating in some specific way until Christmas day is a new trick this old dog can’t seem to learn. I mean, I understand it in my head, the aspect of waiting, and I feel it in my bones too. I don’t know anybody, including me, that’s not standing in line for something. But you know I always cheer that scene when old Mr. Potter tells George that the riffraff need to wait until they’ve saved enough money to enjoy a decent home, and George goes full Bailey on him with “Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they…” I always think about that, Lord, when someone wants to rein-in my Christmas spirit. That, and the lesson Annie Dillard learned when she was being chased by that skinny, red-headed man after throwing snowballs at his car: “you have to fling yourself at what you’re doing, you have to point yourself, forget yourself, aim, dive.” Annie said after being chased so passionately by that “thin man, all action,” that she could have died happy. I’d hate to keel over one of these days on, say, December 23rd, not having sung the dickens out of “Hark, the Herald Angels” that month because it wasn’t time yet. Good grief.

Lord, in this season of waiting, let me fling.

Sincerely amen.





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  1. Elizabeth Templeton on December 2, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    I also love Christmas music. Now that the calendar says “DECEMBER”, I will begin playing the stack of CDs, from “Messiah” (likely twice) through the Nowell Sing We Clear CDs, and carols from Brittany, and the Roches and all the Robert Shaw Chorale chestnuts and a special CD of Christmas tunes from The Sacred Harp. It will be wonderful.

  2. Bill Gillin on December 2, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Excellent, John!
    Your opening lines sound a lot like Augustine’s Confessions. I guess great minds think alike!

  3. Jody Collins on December 2, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Okay, I hereby adopt your phrase “going full Bailey.” Adventing for the rest of us. I love this.

  4. Susan Awes on December 3, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Yes John Blase – you fling!! Me too – and thanks for the permission. Our Anglican church is actually having
    “carols and pie” in a week, brazen law breakers that we are.

    • Judy on December 3, 2018 at 6:52 am

      Amen and Amen!

  5. Diana Trautwein on December 4, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Somehow strict adherence to yet another list of laws doesn’t fit Advent, does it? Fling away, friend.

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