Advent (the Church New Year) is a time of preparation: preparing our hearts, and our homes to make room for Jesus in our homes, and in our hearts. Mary deTurris Poust has a great reflection today on this, the third week of Advent, the week of the Rose candle, and the “O” antiphons, and the JOY they reflect. The Gospel Antiphons (a song, or verse sung in alternate parts – here a response to the Alleluia just prior to the reading of the Gospel) this week prior to Christmas are known as the “O” antiphons
Monday O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
Tuesday O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
Wednesday O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
Thursday O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
Friday O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
Saturday O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
Each one speaking some truth of of God’s love for us, each is a way to reflect on this deep love preparing our hearts and minds to receive Jesus into our lives. I’ve hinted that this season of Advent has been a bit challenging, oh heck the last few years have. I’ve wanted to grow closer to God, to trust Him more, and opportunities have been abundant. I’m just getting around to recognizing them, being thankful, and saying okay God, this is where I’ll go with you.
This morning I had these lyrics from Kari Jobe running through my head:
Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am yours
Lord, I’m forever yours
Mountains high or valleys low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am yours
No matter what else is going on God still loves and is merciful.
I think I might have mentioned that I’ve been a quilter for about twenty four plus years. I remember the joy and frustration of being a beginner. The immense pleasure of finishing, and giving a quilt. Trying new-to-me techniques. Getting advice from other quilters. Offering quilters advice. It’s all part of the process, the journey of quilt making. It is the frustration that has taught me the most about making quilts, and given the most opportunity to figure out how to teach what I’ve learned. I’m still learning.
This joy and frustration of learning, wondering, wanting so much to get everything right all the time in quilting, is also very much part of the journey of faith. About a week ago I told someone that, “I gave up trying to be perfect as a quilter for Lent” and I mean that. What I really want to do is improve and hone the skills over time. That comes from all of the frustrations, mistakes and making a lot of stuff I don’t like, and that is downright awful!
As a side note this was said to a student in a class that I was also learning, and having something of a challenging time. Sometimes it’s challenging to be in a position of learning, wanting to do the very best, and yet – not. That’s what faith feels like sometimes. Not everything goes well according to our plan, but it perfect according to God’s plans. It took a long time as a machine quilter to get to lost in the process of machine quilting, to become confident, to be willing to take the seam ripper out when I don’t like what’s happening.
As a quilter I’ve made so many mistakes, and done some really stupid things like my finger hanging off the ruler and meeting my rotary cutter, and stitching my finger on more than one occasion and then just last week there was this
The finger is feeling better, and thankfully didn’t get any worse than that.
In this moment of being loved, and taught, and cared for and reminded I’m grateful for the Love of God in my life. I’m grateful for quilting, and that there is still much to learn. I’m grateful for the gift of the difficulties in life as they teach so very much. I’m thankful for Advent, and the reminder that the Light is returning, when things seem so very dark.
I’m simply Grateful.