Advent…the time of waiting

I have been really been able to practice my patience since my cancer diagnosis. It is so ironic that the people who are trying their best to extend the length of my life, also make me wait indeterminable amounts of time. I go to the oncologist and I wait for him. Then I wait for the lab results to come back. Then I wait for the pharmacy to mix my meds. I wait…and wait…and wait. I find myself thinking that it is so crazy that my life is shorted by decades and here I am spending all this time waiting. Waiting for the pandemic to loosen its grip on Nebraska so I can feel more comfortable with going out places. Well, that is also what advent is about. Waiting. But not waiting twiddling our thumbs as Christmas marches towards us, or frantically shopping online….click…click…click…but waiting in prayerful awe as a miracle is about to happen. The miracle we celebrate every year at this time, Christ’s birth. I wasn’t raised Catholic. I became Catholic as an adult. I was raised Lutheran…Missouri Synod German Lutheran. (yeah, the strict ones!) I was raised in a home with an Advent wreath and never knew the rest of the world didn’t do this as well! I continued the tradition when I started my own family. The wreath is made of greenery (fake, in my case, to be able to use every year). Mine has winterberries and pinecones on it. There are four candles: three purple and one pink (or rose). They each stand for something different. Advent starts 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, so in 2020, it started on Nov 29th. It also marks the beginning of the new liturgical church year in both the Catholic and Lutheran Churches. It is not uncommon for the pastor to greet the congregation with “Happy New Year” that day in church. Each Sunday we light a candle. At our house, we light the candle every evening as we eat our evening meal. The candles represent hope, love, joy and peace. There is a fifth candle we light starting Christmas Eve…a big fat white one placed in the middle called the Christ candle. This past week was the third week of advent, where we light the pink candle representing Joy. We rejoice during this somber, prayerful time of waiting because the waiting is almost over….the end is in sight. A friend of mine, Kelly Nelson, places a pregnant Mary in the center of her Advent wreath, and then replaces it on Christmas eve with the Holy Family. I LOVED that idea so did so as well with mine. I have some carved wood figures from Bethlehem I am using. Happy waiting!

My Advent wreath… with a carved wooden pregnant Mary made in Bethlehem. The quilted centerpiece was made by my Grandma Jean Neitzke early in my marriage just for this!
Also…my hearth…decorated for the first time in this house…waiting for Christmas

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