Blessed First Sunday of Advent! Light one candle. Happy Chanukkah! Light five candles (tonight). Give someone the gift of water? Or freedom?

Wow, today’s already the first Sunday in Advent. As usual, I’m slamming into it.


My mom liked to call on Sundays after church and in the fall, before the football game. The first Sunday in Advent she always called and the first thing she said was always the same: “Guess what! We sang ‘O come, o come, Emmanuel’.” Then she proceeded onto the deer hunting report. Then she asked when I’d be home.



My reflections aren’t going to get much more sophisticated than that, this year. My brother gave me the deer report (two bucks, both eight points, five does). All the crop damage permits are filled; the two we’re keeping are hanging and the other five have been donated. Dad has an individual permit left, and is shooting right-handed, and we’re nervous. Architect called to fill me in on the progress of her annual attempt to recreate the molasses cookies we haven’t tasted since our grandfather’s death in the mid-1980s. Dad already asked me when I’d be home last week. Sometime on the eleventh, I suspect. I need to lecture twice more in each class, grade a mount of papers, and replace my car tires before I go.

I’m not sure what I can listen to this year. Not Johnny Matthis (mom’s favorite). Not Sufjan Stevens (my usual, but now way too much). Most of the favorite hymns from my childhood and their modern versions seem too much. Suggestions for December listening gratefully received.

I know this is self-pitying. I’m just so sad. I don’t have any way to describe this. I’m — out of words.


The fifth night of Chanukkah is the so-called “darkest night” (I wrote about that here). It is prioritized for time with family and friends and acts of lovingkindness that assist in tikkun olam, the repair of the universe.



Finally, my annual Advent endorsement. No exhortations, because we’ve heard it before and we probably already believe this very simple message. Just a reminder to spend the holidays giving more quality time with the people who matter the most, and if we have money to divert, divert it to sustainability projects for the people who need it most. I happen to find Advent Conspiracy convincing — a non-denominational Christian appeal to provide water to parched places on the planet and end human trafficking. This year they have an organization that will match dollar for dollar up to $7k for any donations made through the [AC] app, through tomorrow.

All kinds of projects are important and my mother would have said that the local ones are the most important, the ones for our neighbors. And this year, I’d add, projects that aren’t just about a happy day around the solstice but things that affect people’s lives year round.


Blessed Advent. Light one candle. Happy Chanukkah. Light five candles.

Let’s do what we can so that no one has to curse the darkness.

~ by Servetus on December 1, 2013.

19 Responses to “Blessed First Sunday of Advent! Light one candle. Happy Chanukkah! Light five candles (tonight). Give someone the gift of water? Or freedom?”

  1. Don’t feel ashamed for the selfpitying. I think you have every right to feel that way!!!!! I hope there are people around you who let you feel the warmth of the light that lightens these dark times. That’s sounds a bit pathetic but I have no better words at the moment :-/ Take care my dear!!!!


  2. I’ve always been partial to Elvis Presley’s recordings of hymns probably because they make me tear up (I’m such an old softie!) and I guess I’m less resistant to being a little weepy at this time of year. Separation from loved ones is always keenly felt (for me anyway) when so many memories of close ties from days past crop up (There are tv commercials that’ll turn on the waterworks! lol ). So I have a little cry, then wash my face & get on with whatever I should be getting on with. I recognize that I’m going to be down for a bit, but I also know I’m going to get back up. 🙂


    • it’s surprising what strikes us, isn’t it? My cousin, Architect, tells me that it’s cleaning up strawberries that’s the worst for her …


  3. Sending virtual hugs!


  4. The Clancy Brothers Christmas..when nothing else works, Buala Bas always works.
    Maybe odd to suggest but The Messiah is something that still lifts when I can’t take the carols I grew up with. (just the great choruses) The Forgotten Carols by Michael McLean. The all manage to dredge up the spirit of Father Christmas for me.


  5. Happy Advent to you , too. 🙂 The season has crept up on me out of left field and I am very far from prepared. It probably won’t change till I have put up the tree on Christmas Eve. Hopefully, your holiday will bring you peace and some measure of joy. *hugs*


    • Hugs back, Bryni, and wishing you forbearance for the very intense German advent celebrations …

      Clementines. One of my favorite parts of German advent 🙂


  6. Sending you hugs…nothing self-pitying about feeling sad. Festive seasons are always tough when you’re grieving.

    I have no suggestions for music – I avoid most Christmassy music like the plague! 🙂


  7. Your feeling are normal. The memories are going to keep flooding by, and it is ok. Cry if you have too. My dad would read the Christmas story every Christmas Eve, one year from Matthew and the next from Luke. There is a lot that goes on this time of year, and a lot to think about. We will make it though this holiday season.

    The boys got no deer . They where going to give any to Mr. 70’s mom. There really where none out where they where at.

    Thinking of you and (((HUGS)))!


  8. […] the fifth night was the night before the Hobbit: AUJ premiere, and I was worried about my mom. In 2013, she had died, I was sad, and I was worried about my tires before making the long drive. The more […]


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