Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Morning Reflections

I sit on the love seat in my living room with Spirit the cat purring behind me as she takes her morning nap.  Rain patters on the windowsill outside.  Christmas tree lights shine through the gloomy morning.  My Christmas Eve sermon is finished.  Five services tonight, and I get to preach the last two.  We will truly rejoice and celebrate the birth of the Christ child.

Lessons and Carols from Kings College streams from my computer.  So many memories as I listen.  Singing Advent Lessons and Carols at Sewanee was one of the highlights of my time in college.  I hear so many of the carols we sang, and I love listening to the lessons again.  Voices soaring.  How grateful I am for this time to sit and be.

A few weeks ago, on my first day driving after my surgery, I remembered the words of Mladen Kiselov, "Today we go slow - like baby."  We were starting technical rehearsals for Tales from the Vienna Woods, my first show as a stage management intern at Actors' Theatre of Louisville.  Mladen was the director, and he addressed the cast and crew in his Bulgarian accent as we started a long day of integrating actors, sets, lights, sound, and all the other elements of production.  "Today we go slow - like baby."

I had thought that's how Advent would be this year.  It had certainly started out that way - I couldn't even go to services on the 1st Sunday of Advent because I needed to rest.  But I found that I didn't go slow.  Too many things to take care of.  Too many activities.  And once my doctor had told me that I was released to do anything I felt up to doing, I just couldn't hold back.

On some days that was hard.  But I'm glad I was up to it, even if I was tired.  When we teched Vienna Woods, we didn't really go that slowly either.  We had 15 hours to put it together before 1st Dress.  We started out slowly, yes, trying to put everything together, but we had to speed up in order to be ready in time for the audience.

So, too, this Advent.  At first I had to rest so often.  But then I started speeding up.  How could I have missed hearing The Messiah with the VA Symphony?  Or the transcendent Christmas concert by the Bruton Parish choirs with John Rutter's Gloria?  I wouldn't have wished to be anywhere else than with those I was able to visit.  The Christmas gathering at SpiritWorks and the sending of Christmas letters and the choosing of special gifts and the conversations and the connections.  I couldn't keep going slow.

But the reminder is always a good one for me.  Going slow like a baby means allowing time to learn, to progress at the pace we need.  Sometimes we can push ahead, but sometimes we can only move so fast.  This morning I'm going slow, but soon I will need to pick up the pace to be ready for tonight.

Whatever speed your going this year, peace and joy to each and every one.  Christmas blessings!  May Christ be born in you.