Emergence

Emergence
Gabriel turns Two: Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advent for Real

It's advent and I'm expecting. Pregnant. Busy; the mother of two energetic, fairly high maintenance, wonderful, exhausing born children, and mother of the being-under-creation within my womb, who goes with me shopping and sleeping and stressing and learning to fine small moments of peace and joy.

I hate suburbia these days; burdensom to me are the expectations of the culture shaping my kids and pressing in on me, though I try to resist to the best of my ability. The professional birthday parties, the pressure to start your child's resume' of extracurriculars at age 18 months, with a reasonable curriculum vitae by age 6. The feeling that you should be keeping up with the Joneses -- that if you are not, you will be guilty, either in eyes of your culture and peers, or in the eyes of your child, who cannot help but covet the neighbor's cool stuff and hyped-up activity roster. Yes, I hate suburbia, and yet it's where I live, and I'm as much a product of it as a critic.

I wonder how much I can opt out of -- how to find that balance of being the the world, but not of it. Each year I try to convert my major Christmas shopping list into Heifer donations, and every year I guilt trip myself into thinking that for this or that reason so and so will be hurt if I don't at least get them a little something tangible. My reasons are always good (I think.) Aunt Jessi will feel hurt because she is going through a divorce and lives very close to Aunt Pat, who just had a baby and received a generous Baby box, with a little something for the whole family. So I am trying to wean those within my circle gradually, to bring some semblance of balance and sane enjoyment of advent back into focus.

I wonder how holy Mary felt during the grueling donkey ride on her way to submit to the census. Who wants to travel pregnant during the holidays because of a government mandate? And then there were surely issues with Joseph. Was he pressuring her to make love before Jesus' birth? Did she feel guilty when he went around the corner to "take care of himself?" Did they blame each other for not getting there in time to find a room at the Inn? The mother mild probably did not wander in gentle bliss during her days of Great Advent Expectation. And yet she was not disqualified from bringing God's incarnate love into the world!

Maybe there's a message here for us -- the journey of advent doesn't have to be bump-free in order to be a journey toward the birth of God's love in our hearts, our families, our communities and the world.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts. Where would be better than the suburbs? It seems like there would be pros and cons to every place.

BTW, if you're ever torn about getting us presents (not that you would be), feel free to make that donation :)

And I just have to mention one last thing. The word for "inn" (κατάλυμα) probably means "guest-room" as in they were going back to their hometown and the guest-room was occupied by more distinguished family guests, so they slept in the animals' quarters. You may have already known about that, but being the NT geek that I am, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to see the "inn" talked about ;) Not that it changes your point a whole lot, but maybe they wouldn't have expected to get the guest-room? Or if they did, maybe they wouldn't have gotten it even if they got there earlier because of the expectation of the more honored guests?

Okay, back to my studies. Blessings and peace!

Jemila Monroe said...

Hi Pat, where would be better than the burbs?

Well in the end I might try to city and country and decide the burbs is the best scenario, but I long for a culture where it's safe to let the kids run and romp outside instead together, or where you can at least take public transportation to get to lots of school stuff besides shopping locales.

Yes I know about the guest room. Intentionally chose to go with what seemed more natural to write. More concerned with truth than fact, being the good postmodernist that I am. In a different context, truth would have required an exegesis,but I didn't feel it necessary for my story.

Jemila Monroe said...

Hi Pat, where would be better than the burbs?

Well in the end I might try to city and country and decide the burbs is the best scenario, but I long for a culture where it's safe to let the kids run and romp outside instead together, or where you can at least take public transportation to get to lots of school stuff besides shopping locales.

Yes I know about the guest room. I intentionally chose to go with what seemed more natural to write. More concerned with truth than fact, being the good postmodernist that I am. In a different context, truth would have required an exegesis,but I didn't feel it necessary for my story.

Anonymous said...

Well, those are all good points. Life's journeys can be frustrating at the same time they are exhilarating and meaningful. I feel pretty burnt out in general, but simultaneously peaceful and fulfilled. It's a very strange combination. I guess I'm on crack. Just don't tell the authorities.

Anonymous said...

btw, Quirky Grace are you available? I'm looking for a companion at this stage in life. I've completed an assessment of you based upon your writing and profile and it indicates that we would be compatible. How about it?

Jemila Monroe said...

Why would I want to go out with a man who's burnt out, yet fulfilled? Heheh