(An unfinished draft from December, posted for posterity’s sake.)
This has been an odd Advent. It all started around summer. I just got completely backlogged with work due to various special events over the summer. Then the crush of Charge Conference, etc. Add to that the onset of parental anxiety (mine own) and the time has been warping slow and fast for the last 6 months. A lot of life factors have added up to a ho-hum Christmas. As of Friday, M&I didn’t even have a tree. What with parsonage renovations to commence on Boxing Day, well, it just didn’t seem worth the hassle. Besides, I have made the house a total wreck en route to being clean and ready for carpet people and kitchen people. I guess I’ve had the Christmas blues. So, I have had to the John Wesley approach to spreading Christmas/Advent cheer: preach it till you got it.
Currently, I am sitting in the local bagel shoppe chowing on a sesame-seed bagel. It must mean that I am here early, since sesame seed sells out early on a daily basis. There is chatter galore this morning. Thankfully, the usual fare of Euro-jazz-muzak has given way to generic non-offensive seasonal muzak. Jingle-bells (blah), Frosty the Snowman (Jackson 5 version), Jingle-bell rock (blah plus violent tendencies). Amid the Monday morning chit-chat and finals week cram tables, comes an elongated note colored with easy vibrato. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaall on your kneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees. No one ever tells me this. No one even asks me to. I only do this when speaking to children for a long time, which is uncommon.
The elongated note is familiar. Yesterday, was a full-on, no-holds-barred Advent Sunday preacher’s day. I began in worship, forcing grown adults to rejoice with actual volume and responsible singing. I preached my Holy-Ghost off three times, on why Mary sang her song, why it matters, what it means to rejoice. I sat on the pew at 12:25 with an incredible sigh. It is one of the interesting times of the week. I am always tired. Sometimes it is a frustrated tired, sometimes an ashamed tired, sometimes an indifferent tired, sometimes a depleted tired. Depleted tired is the goal.
I have read recently that Springsteen is concluding his latest tour…a two-year world tour. He’s like 60 something and still plays to exhaustion every night. There is something to be said for such craziness. Maybe somethings are worth being dead-tired over. Sometimes I think, Oh church, whatever. Sometimes I think, Perhaps I should.
I like depleted tired. My knees are a little rubberier. My voice is a little raspier. My collar a little sweatier. But, this is the living God, and comfort ain’t so important most of the time.