Yippee! I received my Over the Rhine CDs yesterday. Apparently, they were shipped out December 8 from the States, and I was dubious about whether I would get them before Christmas. For the past 2 weeks, I have been religiously checking my mailbox and with each passing day of not receiving my orders, I braced myself more for disappointment. But they are here now, just in time. After coming home from late-night snacks, I spent the remainder of the last night knitting and savouring these two albums I purchased: Snow Angels and Drunkard’s Prayer. Such simple, satisfying pleasures! It was the first time in a long while that I felt content.

So far, I have been managing the demands of December by staying away from the malls and spending time with people I want to spend time with. In fact, I am quite pleased with how I’ve been using my time this month by connecting more with my coworkers and catching up with friends from high school and university. Trying to “be present” to the people around me helps me to appreciate and be inspired by the Advent and Incarnation of Christ even more. When I get caught up with myself and my priorities, I can be quite flakey in my relationships and commitments, and while I might appear to be “there” (to unperceptive people), I actually am not. Mentally I am absent. I end up not listening very well because I am thinking about other things, like what I’m going to do next, or how to make my brilliant point, or how to alleviate my social anxieties, etc.

I really think that the greatest gift we can offer each other is our attention and presence. “Greatest” because it is the most difficult, requiring us to put aside some part of ourselves, if only temporarily, to reach out to each other. This sacrifice often doesn’t feel good, like an inconvenience or a bother or maybe even a setback. And yet, this is exactly what the Advent of Jesus is about.

Hadn’t planned on writing about “deep thoughts” in this post, but here I am, and not inappropriately irrelevant. Don’t know why, but it gets me each time when I ponder it, this truth that God is present, that He is with us.

Anyways, here’s another musical Christmas treat for you, a track from Over the Rhine’s Christmas album:

[odeo=http://odeo.com/audio/4471723/view]

So it’s been a long year
Every new day brings one more tear
Till there’s nothing left to cry

My, my how time flies
Like little children hiding their eyes
We’ll make it disappear
Let’s start a brand new year

Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Salvation army bells are ringing
Darlin’ Christmas is coming
Do you believe in angels singing
Darlin’ the snow is falling
Falling like forgiveness from the sky

If I could have anything
What would I want this new year to bring
Well, I’d want you here with me

Tear these thorns from my heart
Help the healing to start
Let’s set this old world free
Let’s start with you and me

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