... and suddenly I can't wait for Advent Four. The semester ends on Friday, with two large papers due. One in Greek and one in History of Christianity, and both fighting hard to make themselves difficult to finish. The weather is conspiring in my desire to hole up inside with my immense pile of books and my computer by being dark and rather gloomy, but today is the day I am out nearly all day. I start with a meeting at 9:00 this morning and have classes that run until 9:00 tonight. Perhaps the weather will oblige and hang around for the rest of the week so I can curl up with a pot of tea and a blanket while I finish whipping these papers into shape. My goal is to have all but the final touches done by Thursday morning, but since each has already managed to change themselves entirely at least once already I am feeling a bit discouraged about that timing.
With the end of the semester looming, suddenly so is Christmas. Being in seminary has certainly forced me to focus on the preparation and waiting aspects of Advent this year, but I almost feel as if I am missing out. I have watched decorations going up all around me and not done anything here. Finally this weekend we broke down and brought up our boxes of Christmas, and I spent an evening merrily unpacking, making a few repairs, and flinging stuff onto a shelf for later distribution. But our mistletoe is up (careful, you might hit your head on it) and looking festive; the nativity is prepared (all the figures are scattered to the four winds until it is the appropriate time to show up); and All Souls' mice have taken over the china hutch (with a surprise popping out of a nearby basket). There is still so much I want to do, but in a cozy space there isn't a whole lot that can be done until I have time to finish straightening the bookshelves and have made nooks and crannies for our other beloved decorations to adorn. Not to mention the tree debate. We'll have one, but where do we put it and how big (small) will it be?
So while I continue to wrestle deeply with Julian of Norwich and John 14, Christmas is sneaking on to the scene to distract me with anticipation of relief and celebration. It is all about the balance, and not forgetting the sparkles of joy in the midst of the work.