Beginning the Countdown (Monday): “We’re All Broken”

Christmas is nearly here, and I’m not ready.

This overwhelming feeling of not being prepared, though, isn’t because I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping or cookie-baking or gift-making or travel-plans-arranging (though of course I haven’t).

It’s not that I’m not ready for Christmas. It’s that I’m not yet ready for Advent to be over.

How can it be that even when you light candles in your living room and watch the the circle of tea lights getting brighter and brighter, even when you try really hard to avoid listening to the cheery Christmas carols announcing the already-born Savior, even when you have been wearing long underwear for three weeks trying to stay warm in a drafty old house in central Kentucky, how can it be that Advent is slipping by you and you haven’t even taken the time to be still?

Well, now I sit in a frigid, unfurnished basement with a genuine Grandma-made afghan around my shoulders, having nearly finished everything that had been looming over my head from last week. And I’m wondering how I can be still and prepare my heart in the very few days that are left before Advent is over and we move into a new season, a season of feasting rather than fasting, of celebration rather than yearning, of joy rather than preparation.

I don’t know the answer, truth be told, but since our weekend turned out to be unexpectedly packed full of Over the Rhine music, I’ve got it seeping out of my pores. And so to Over the Rhine I am turning to help me countdown the last few days of Advent.

Last summer I asked OtR’s Linford Detweiler about the way their music tends to (what I call) “sacramentalize” ordinary, lived experience, finding beauty in brokenness. His answer is where I want to start this week:

Take the unwillingness to divide the world into sacred and secular, or an unwillingness to divide the world into the broken and the unbroken—we see that those divisions cannot be made. We’re all broken, and it’s all sacred. So that is sort of where we try to live. And if we fail, on a personal level, I think songs can remind us what we aspire to.*

Take a deep breath and then read it again. And then one more time. That is Advent.

We’re all broken, and it’s all sacred.

________________________________________

* The full interview is available in GENERATE magazine, and you can purchase issue 2  here–it’s a worthwhile investment in a beautiful publication.

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4 comments on “Beginning the Countdown (Monday): “We’re All Broken”

  1. Bonnie (Mom) says:

    Not being raised in a church that celebrated Advent, this aspect of the holidays was not very meaningful to me. But, thanks to you and J and your example, and the recent issue of Christian Reflection, Advent is becoming more relevant to me. Thanks and Peaceful Advent and (then) Merry Christmas!!!

  2. Stephen says:

    Last night I went to church for worship practice and I was reminded of yet another thing that so many of us get caught up in: church. The worship pastor was overwhelmed preparing for the Christmas eve service and then another service on Sunday morning. I started to think as I was playing with Myka on the floor of the sanctuary, our relaxed playing on the floor was a great place to be and to worship. Myka has no clue what’s going on, running sound is second nature to me, so Myka’s dancing along to the rhythm of the drums and my singing along to the words was great relaxing fun worship. It was great to prepare my heart for Sunday along with my daughter without even thinking about it. I want to prepare for the coming of our Lord without worrying about the hustle and the bustle, just playing and worshiping in the joy of what the future holds.

    • elizabeth says:

      Those are beautiful thoughts, Stephen. I can picture Myka playing near or under the sound table, just like we used to do. 🙂 Soon you’ll have her wrapping up cables and putting mics away. Love you.

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