Crown and Bough

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


The second week of Advent already!  I need this season of preparation before Christmas, and look forward to it probably more than I do Christmas itself.  The breathless expectation is somehow more poignant, like the two seconds before dawn breaks.  Or the moment right before you peek your head around the doorway to see the confetti-colors of Christmas presents left beneath the tree from Santa.

I need the order in my life that the liturgical year brings, and always feel better when I'm back into its rhythm.  It casts away sameness, and the mundane.  It makes each day different from the next, but in an expected way.  There are no surprises but plenty of variety.  Each year rolls around the same as the next.  Humans are ritualistic beings.  Knowing that things won't be the same day-in and day-out, while at the same time cultivating a calm expectation, settles the restlessness of my mind: the way small children cherish their schedules but also fear boredom.

My children don't really comprehend or appreciate the seasonal ritual yet.  They blank-facedly tuck into their chocolate coins and (very much later, after all chocolate has been consumed and exhausted) their tangerines), with nary a thought to good Saint Nick.  And that's okay--because even if I'm the only one who "gets it," it's good for me to go through the motions and keep the traditions.  Good to shake me out of complacency and stagnation.  A life constantly renewing itself.  A Catholic life of constant conversion, with as many chances for repentance and reconciliation and fulfillment as there are are saints in the heavens.

One of these years I will remember to start and continue the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena.  I look forward to the time when eager young hands and hearts will bear reminders, and grasp straws in secret to add to the Holy Child's manger when no one is looking.

Saint Nicholas, ora pro nobis.

(Excellent recipe for liturgically inappropriate "Saint Nicholas" cookies, here.)

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