If I was alive during Jesus’ birth, I’d be the shepherd who came out from behind the privy bush, readjusting my tunic and looking around wondering where everyone else had gotten off to.
That’s my way of saying I didn’t go to church yesterday.
And everyone’s shouting “Happy New Liturgical Year!”* and laying out their plans for Advent devotions and disciplines… and I’m trying to figure out if the coffee creamer has gone bad before I pour it into my Lilo and Stitch coffee mug.
Really, how prepared can we be for the foundations of the world to shake and crack, for reality to change forever? Can we ever get our human minds around the concept of the Greatest Power in the Universe becoming like us, coming into the world as weak and frail as we did, a teeny, tiny buck naked lump utterly dependent on others for survival? Too much to think about, especially before coffee– and I can’t have my coffee until I determine the viability of my creamer.
Looking into the bottom of my coffee cup, I wonder how long it’ll take me to get to work, with the cold weather and the Monday morning drivers (all as caffeine-deprived as I am). The newspaper is open on the counter to a two-page spread about a soldier, who gave his life to save the rest of his squad by throwing himself on a grenade in Iraq. I look out the window to the still dark, pre-dawn sky to see if it’s raining, which would add more time to my commute.
There’s no angel talking to the young girl next door. There’s no man in a camel-hair outfit on a diet worthy of Fear Factor walking by. There’s no star burning brightly where no star has been before. My iPod is plugged into my ears as I wander around the kitchen, gathering things. Billie Joe Armstrong and Bono are singing together.
I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now?
Until the clouds unroll and you come home, the line went.
But the shadows still remain since your descent (your descent).
The saints are coming, the saints are coming.
*Except our Eastern Orthodox bretheren and sistren, who point out that 1) their new liturgical year started in September, and 2) they’ve been fasting since Nov. 15th.