Notes from Jan

Choosing Calm in a Frenzied Season

November 29, 2019

Today’s Black Friday.

Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving.

Which day matters more in our buy-buy culture?

The Boston Globe landed with a thud yesterday, jammed with inserts and ads.

The mailbox’s filled with more of the same, plus catalogs.

This  Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, a calming choice, a way to combat the  frenzy and commercialization of Christmas

We’ll still ourselves to heed words recited while lighting candles, reading familiar passages from the Bible, praying and singing Carols.

Ritual wraps the season in beauty and wonder,  quietly gifting us with the pace of Grace.

We wait in hope for Jesus.

Not passive wishing, but active hope that takes stands against evil, refuses to spread despair, looks for ways to make better what has been made worse, seeks ways to love anyway.

Yesterday we sat around the table and passed  the basket containing slips of paper on which we’d written things for which we were thankful.  None were things.  All expressed gratitude for family, friends, God, a dog or experiences., like having just a half day of school on Wednesday.

Remember that joy?

It’s Black Friday, a good day to enjoy time with you.

You spread hope.

In two more days, many of us will light the first Advent candle, Light for dark times,  Hope for our deepest pits of despair.

Advent’s God’s Holy Hush, a time  for the quaking shepherd in all of us to hear again, “Fear not.”

All will be well.

Yesterday, Poco read these words from a prayer,

“Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who make the journey with us. So be swift to love and make haste to be kind.”

May this Season of Advent find us rushing to “gladden hearts, love and be kind.”






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  • Reply Carol Taylor November 29, 2019 at 11:39 am

    May I steal the essence of this and repost? I’m happy to credit you but I will change the specifics of location, family, and dinner table conversations.

  • Reply Radina Welton November 29, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Thank you! And a peaceful Advent to you, dear Jan

  • Reply Radina Welton November 29, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Thank you! And a peaceful Advent to you, dear Jan!

  • Reply Julie Mozena November 29, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Jan, I’ve joined your list!

    What a beautiful sentiment, Jan. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and a peaceful Advent.

  • Reply Ruth Wacome November 29, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Reading this made my heart sing, Jan. Thank-you.

    Wishing you a much-blessed Advent season..

  • Reply Wendy Lane November 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    So good. What a dichotomy Thanksgiving and Black Friday are – who ever put them right next to each other on the calendar anyway?! Thank you for these words full of grace and deep truth. I especially love: “Ritual wraps the season in beauty and wonder, quietly gifting us with the pace of Grace.” Blessings upon you as we approach the precious season of Advent dear Jan. <3

  • Reply James B. Griffin December 1, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    Advent is a time of penance, though shorter than Lent. Christmas is 12 days, not one.
    When my daughter was small, she got little presents for twelve days, sometimes a little toy, sometimes a book. In the beginning, she didn’t care as much for the books, but she eventually became an avid reader.
    More importantly, we taught her than giving is an economy of charity, not a one-day binge on Dec. 25. Each day is a celebration, e.g., Feasts of: the Nativity, Dec. 25; St. Stephen, Dec. 26; Holy Family, Dec. 27; Holy Innocents, Dec. 28; St. Thomas Becket, Dec. 29; St. Sabinus, Dec. 30; St. Sylvester (who called the Council of Nicea), Dec. 31; Mary, Mother of God, Jan. 1; Ss. Basil and Gregory Nazianzen (defenders of the faith against the Arians), Jan. 2; Holy Name of Jesus, Jan. 3; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (American saint), Jan. 4; St. John Neumann (American saint), Jan. 5; Epiphany, Jan. 6. Children and adults need more Christmas, not less; there is a reason there are 12 days of Christmas!

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