An Advent reflection, I can do that. It will be beautiful; all starlight and inspiration. I clear my plans for the evening, no record keeping, grading or lesson planning, no dishes or laundry. Inspiration needs quiet and time and putting the ‘to do’ list to the side.
I start . . . there something beautiful here. I can feel it. My mind seeks it. It is just around the bend, a feeling. I have not found the words, but they will come. The feelings will find the words. They will draw them out from wherever feelings find the way to express themselves, to bring themselves into being, to become flesh. Oh, it will be beautiful.
Blissful silence, but then I hear a cough. I am drawn back from the heavenly inspiration, the words just beyond my grasp, my feet firm on the ground of this earth.
Another cough . . . my little one . . . I go to her.
It is not coughing; it is gagging, the stomach flu. I find myself on my knees mopping the floor, bathing a child, changing the sheets. I kiss a little head that my nose tells me smells suspiciously like vomit. I tuck her in and say a prayer that this will pass.
I sit down again. Ready to do the beauty and mystery and longing of Advent justice. The words begin to come, but I am not quite sure where they are going. I just need time. They will reveal some wisdom that I am not yet able to express.
The coughing comes again, followed by the vomit. A little one needs to be held and reassured and loved.
Three times I begin this beautiful, heavenly reflection. Three times it is drawn into the present of a sick child needing to be bathed and loved and tucked back in.
I finally go to sleep, because I know it may be a very long night.
This morning I look at my page. It is nothing, but some floundering starts. Where is the beauty, the starlight, the inspiration?
Nothing but mystery . . .
But . . . perhaps there is some Advent revelation in my failed plans.
Heavenly inspiration and light, meets the mess and brokenness of earth, and it is holy ground. You might miss it, except for the help of a little starlight, a crying babe, a stranger welcomed and angels entertained. What is Advent, but heaven drawing close to the mess of earth and becoming one with it, all for the sake of love.
Sometimes words are not enough. Sometimes they must become flesh. Love spoken, Love lived: “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” This is Advent.