Thursday, December 1, 2011

bread crumbs: anticipation

I did not grow up with liturgy. My parents did, in the Lutheran and Methodist traditions, and they both turned toward charismatic movements in their twenties. Aside from learning to the words to lots of hymns, tradition was not a big focus in our home, and in some ways I saw tradition as being cold and uncreative; the opposite of the freedom of the Spirit we were intent on. So, I never gave much thought to liturgy, until reading Lauren Winner's Girl Meets God in college sparked my interest. Really it just brought an awareness of the liturgical calendar into my life, and I started reading the Book of Common Prayer. I love the rich history and the feeling of community, of a universal body of believers, that comes from liturgical practice.


In my home life, I find words that have weight and centuries behind them to be comforting and grounding. I'm all for heartfelt lyrics, but sometimes I need to draw strength from words, to be reminded of the attributes of God. I have a growing appreciation for liturgy, and I realize more and more that I want my children to have those rich words planted in their brains, for when they really need them.


This year we're making an effort to observe Advent, or it would be more true to say introduce ourselves to Advent. I've seen so many cute Advent calendars on Pinterest that I wanted to make, but geez it's already December 1, so yesterday I picked up one of those cardboard paper-flap ones at Hobby Lobby. This morning's verse: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Isaiah 9:1 led to a pretty great discussion with Nicky, over breakfast and all the way to school. I saw a spark in his eyes when I read it, and he told me about how God said, "Let there be light", and then we talked about literal light and Jesus-light, and I think he got it. And I thought about all that beautiful symbolism between the old and new testaments. I realize what this is now, this season. It's a way to present the gospel to Nicky, and later to Silas, and to ourselves every day for four weeks, and to let the anticipation of re-discovering the beauty of it all grow and grow, until Christmas.


And I also realize that really, I did this growing up. It just wasn't so intentional, so obvious, but it was done, because these kinds of discussions just flowed out of my mother, every day. However, this mama needs intentional and obvious. They are my friends.


Today I have a lightness in my heart that hasn't been there. It was a little bit like being a child again, pulling back that cardboard flap, wondering what gift is there today.


Words are the greatest gift.

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