Lucy’s latest ultrasound hanging on our refrigerator. She’s still in a transverse position, her head on my left side, her feet curled up over her head, kicking up toward my ribs.
Well, all the Catholic blogs are starting to sparkle with chatter about Advent. And the house across the street has Christmas lights up. And our parish began to sell wreaths on Sunday. It’s time to deck the halls and to prepare our hearts to make Him room. Time to awake and hearken to glad tidings of the King of Kings.
But I’m having a hard time focusing on all of that. My preparations right now are mostly for the baby girl who is scheduled to make her appearance via c-section on New Year’s Eve in the morning. I’m pretty sure that for the next month just carrying Lucia is going to take up most of my energy reserves. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around Christmas. Instead, I’m sweating over how to fit in all the OB appointments and ultrasound appointments and non-stress tests and when I look at the calendar lately it’s mostly wondering if that pesky OB is going to try to make me come in for an appointment in the week of Christmas. Oh I could bellyache a long time about my dissatisfaction with my OB practice and their institutional lack of communication with their patients that leaves me perpetually frustrated and in the dark.
So when I spare a thought for Advent at all, it’s to reaffirm my commitment to going with simple, simple, simple. Of course if you’ve been reading for any length of time at all, you’ll know that isn’t really a change of pace round here. But I have to remind myself again that it’s ok once again not to be doing a Jesse Tree—we’ll get around to it one of these years. And to remind myself not to compare. Baking and decorating and elaborate lessons plans designed around Advent books… nope, not going to happen here in Casa Bettinelli. Not this year.
My vision for Advent: a wreath with candles to light every night. A pile of books to read.
I thought ahead and bought St Nicholas gifts in last year’s post-Christmas sales. I might stretch myself to one baking treat: something festive for St Lucy’s day. Yeah, I think maybe we won’t skip that new tradition this year. We have a little Lucy we are all so very eager to meet.
We’ll have our nativity scene.
Eventually we’ll get a Christmas tree.
A few simple presents for Christmas day. One book, one toy, per child. Maybe a pair of mittens for each too. I think I might be able to manage all that. And we can’t really afford anything more elaborate even if I didn’t believe in it.
And that’s it.
And even that seems like too long a list except when I’m looking at what everyone else is doing.
And then there’s the spiritual preparation. What to read for Advent? Everyone’s talking about that too. Extra devotions. Novenas and prayers. I’d like to do some. I’d like to feel I was doing something to put my house in order this Advent. But even that feels like one more “to do”. So I’m going to sit back and see if something recommends itself. Something little and easy for a tired mommy brain to embrace. Something that will soothe my anxieties and ease my fears and bring true peace to our little domestic church.
Or maybe I’ll just sit quietly with my hand on my belly feeling those kicks and contemplating the miracle I can grasp, the guest who this Christmas will wear the face of the Christ Child for me. God knows that in welcoming her, I am welcoming Him.
Perhaps that’s the lesson I need to absorb this Advent: to learn once again to see His face in the faces I see every day. To learn how to serve Him in serving them. It feels so little. It feels like not enough. It feels like giving up. But perhaps giving up is what I need most right now. My prayer for Advent, then, is a simple prayer: Lord, teach me to give up. Teach me to surrender to the little things. Teach me what “enough” feels like. I don’t think I know what it is.