christmas kermit

The Hope of God with Us

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel

I start this entry the way I have started many LJ entries: Today I managed to get some things done despite waking and noon and lazing about for several hours. Tomorrow I hope to be more productive.

There is a disturbing trend in my focusing on my productivity above all else, visible easily in blog posts and imagined ones. Why do I feel the need to record my productivity above all else? Why after spending a joyous time with a friend I missed do I try and establish the fact that I was productive? Do I really feel that I only deserve good times when I produce some tangible evidence of work every day?

I think I am going to have to learn how to value the capacity to slow down and be myself over being productive. All in all, I did get a lot of stuff done today, and important things too - even the official business registration I've been longing to do for over a year. But that's not the issue, is it? What am I really accomplishing in this life? What really matters? When it all comes down to it, it's how I treat other people and how I make my choices - my real choices - how much I invest in real Living. It all goes back to that big life motto I adopted years ago - I never want to get so busy living that I never really lived. I adopted it because I knew I was in danger. And oddly enough, after school with more time in my life than I could have imagined a year ago while up to my eyeballs in schoolwork, I am more in danger than ever before of losing real life in the midst of it all.

Early on in my wedding planning process, it stressed me out. I am starting to enjoy it now because I realized I was doing it again, making something into work that shouldn't be, something I should love and treasure was taking away my joy. I fixed that initial problem, but it was only a symptom.

A few days ago I crafted an advent wreath for Paul and I, and at supper I lit it without a formal prayer. Paul was a bit stunned and we had a moment of both being very uncomfortable about it. I suggested we blow it out and start over with a prayer, so we did. Paul said that Advent was all about waiting. Something I (and many other people) have yet to learn how to do well. It's fortunate that advent is going to give me a chance to learn this skill this year, as I am as in need of it as greatly as a woman in love who is waiting to be married could be.

The first candle of Advent is the candle of Hope. We lit this candle to remind us that our hope is in Jesus and to watch for His return.
And so I pray, draw out of me the darkness of the world, and fill me with the light of hope. Help me to prepare for Your coming, and for the celebration of the first time You came.

This evening I had the great pleasure of going out for supper with Drew tonight - a friend I haven't seen enough of for some time - and he accompanied me and gave me a ride to the less pleasurable but sometimes entertaining Ballroom Dance Club AGM, where I was re-instated for a second year with the club as Publications Officer. I got lots of ideas from the crowd and actually enjoyed myself whenever things were getting interesting, which was often enough.

Today I realized that it's not just about accomplishment, and I am far too focused on accomplishment to see others well. There's a hope in this world far beyond just getting to the end of my to-do list. In my life, my own expectations are the worst trap of all. I expect too much of myself, and in the process it sometimes turns into an odd sort of selfishness.

Tomorrow could be an even better day, perhaps. It's closer to Christmas after all. The truth is, He came, and that changed everything. It wasn't about how well you could meet expectations anymore. Not even your own.