That time of year again…

The church year begins next Sunday. I’m always at a loss as how to best keep/celebrate Advent. When I was home with my family, we would light candles, sing, read from the Bible, and “ring those bells and turn around.” I just bought God is in the Manger by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and I’m trying to read through Isaiah 40-55 each week. What do adults typically do for Advent? My other custom is feeling generally grumpy about listening to too much Christmas music before Christmas. I limit myself to the ever excellent Sufjan Stevens Christmas albums and Messiah. Speaking of which…

Messiah sing-along is next week. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the advent season. And do you know how rarely you get to sing chorally as an adult? I wish I’d appreciated the opportunities to sing in choir more in high school and college. I’ll be there with my much annotated score, ready to sing until I get hopelessly lost in endless baroque runs.

Baby sister is home for Thanksgiving this week. Of course I can’t wait to see her, hug her, annoy her, but the real reason I’m glad she’s home: read aloud time! When we’re both at home for vacations, we have to bunk up together. Literally. I get the bottom bunk, and she gets the top. This summer, I read Anne of the Island out loud to her because you can’t get a proper education without having read this book before going to college. This Christmas…we’re reading A Christmas Carol. I’ve been scanning through it, and truly I can’t think of a better story for the Advent season. If there’s one thing Charles Dickens nails, it’s redemption.

I stumbled across this Norman Rockwell painting. I will always love Norman Rockwell. My favorite Christmas book in the world is the Norman Rockwell Christmas book. My parents had a copy that we would pore through. And last year, I was given my own copy. It features some amazing short stories, poems, memoirs of Christmas, all punctuated by the ever homy work of Rockwell.

Lift up Thine Eyes
Lift up Thine Eyes
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