Home and daily presence

I feel the stirring of Advent as it inches closer. Once we push past the candy comas that will be happening next week, and the turkeys and attendant anxiety of getting all the food out of the oven on time for Thanksgiving, we’ll be waiting, waiting. There’s something in the soft Autumn light and how it hits the fall leaves that feels like I’m waiting in anticipation for a glorious revealing. For presence. For the warmth of words that roll with a thick sweetness, words and a richness that finally make sense of me. Where I’m found and lost and renewed and buoyed up, all at once.

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We’re symbol-making creatures. My pastor is preaching through Leviticus right now and keeps returning to the animal as a map, where God’s plan is worked out through sinews and sacrifice and the outpouring of blood. It’s horribly messy and unclean and nothing like the delicate crèche scenes dotting our mantles as Advent approaches. Sacrifice, like birth and death, is never tidy; instead, glory bursts through, shattering our illusions of containment, so that we are truly undone.

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We’re all just waiting. Waiting for life to happen. But life rarely comes with a host of angels ushering it in, but through small moments that add up over the course of a lifetime. Little miracles. Daily bread. It’s in the small and unassuming places where grace shows up and ushers us in to holy ground. Daily liturgies that reinfuse the mundane with the sacred. Today that was the autumn leaves raining down in droves like dancers throwing themselves into the music of beauty and grace. These are the moments that are hard to catch when you’re too focused on yourself and your to-do list; beauty gets trodden underfoot with the crunch of dead fallen leaves.

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It’s the weight of Advent that I’m anticipating (even months prior), that promises to comfort how heavy bedding keeps out the cold. It’s a weight that infuses the daily with presence and is scented with pine and happens between the lighting of candles and daily scripture readings. It’s a presence that feels like bundled-up evenings of good conversation with a warm drink in your hands. In short, it feels like home. A home that doesn’t look like the cover of a magazine or the Pinterest hot cocoa bar with homemade chocolate bark. It’s a home that says “come ye sinner, poor and wretched,” one that leaves the light on for the sojourner to stay in a spare room, one that welcomes older brothers too proud to come in to a party that promises wine and laughter and redemption in the tangible breaking of bread and drinking of wine. It’s a home where the weary rest and lay down their burdens as we partake together.

But it’s messy: it’s showing up with our hands cupped ready to catch what comes. It’s where the life-blood is spilt in countless daily sacrifices — cleaning where no one notices or praises your efforts; spreading the peanut butter and jam when no one says thank you; getting up and going to work when it feels like it doesn’t make a difference; a monotonous refrain where we wonder if the symbol never really pointed to substance beneath it and if the daily monotony is really all we’ve got.

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But what if our dailyness was infused with the weight of glory? With all the glorious presence that we feel at times, like Advent, where the sacred and mundane meet? What if we could put down the groceries and the projects for just a minute to laugh and dance in the falling leaves? Because we only have this gift of this moment now. And it, too, is holy.

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This is the twenty-fifth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.

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