This morning I was standing in line at the cash register at a local store. There was Christmas music playing in the background, and I became aware that all three of us in line were toe tapping etc. to the music. I noted this to them and suggested that it must mean that it was early in the season as later on we would likely be complaining about being tired of hearing it. We had a nice chuckle, and one of the women noted that it wasn’t even December yet. When I commented that Advent starts tomorrow one of the women asked what I’m giving up. I said that we give things up for Lent and not Advent, and that it is a good thing! That got me thinking…
We actually give up many things during Advent don’t we?
We give up common sense with respect to our eating habits. Our best intentions with respect to eating healthfully typically go out the window as the chocolate, candy and home-baked sweets are set out to tempt us, and big family dinners go on and on!
We give up on our budgets as we buy special clothing for Christmas parties, and get caught up in all the Christmas shopping hype. Out come our credit cards and we lose track quickly of how even really great prices can be too much if you buy too many things.
Neither of those are good for us, but there are more things given up during Advent and Christmas…
We relax those tight fists on our purse strings and donate more to charities and causes. Knowing this it is the main time of year for organizations such as World Vision to put out catalogues of items so that people see something concrete to go along with their monetary donation. Along with our money we loosen up and give more of our time and talents at this time as well. People go out to entertain at nursing homes, work to collect food and clothing for food banks etc.
It is a time to give up on despair, to be replaced by the hope that comes with the birth of the Messiah.
We give up on arguments, feuds, and wars (remember hearing about the troops in the WWI in 1914 meeting in no-man’s-land to celebrate Christmas) and accept the gift of peace from the Prince of Peace!
We let go of our inner Grinch and, in joy, we smile, sing, and celebrate the birth of a baby boy!
And finally, out goes our loneliness as we accept the love of God and the constant presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
So it turns out the question the woman asked me in line this morning was pretty insightful after-all. What will I give up for Advent? How about you?
Posted in anticipation, Christmas, Reflections
Tagged Advent, charity, Christmas, debt, diet, giving, giving up, hope, joy, Lent, love, peace, World Vision
This past Saturday at lunch time I was seated in a living room with some women who have been very important in my life for almost twenty years, the members of my Women’s Institute branch. At forty-six years old I am the youngest by ten years, our oldest member at ninety-three was not able to attend that day. Most members are retired, one lives on a working farm, three of us live in the city. Some are knitters, some are quilters, we have some prize-winning bakers etc. What do we have in common? We are all women, most have or have had husbands and children, most have worked hard either at home or outside our homes. We have experienced life as women and all that entails and we all wanted to help our community and keep on learning.
We were gathered together for a luncheon and the final meeting of our branch. After ninety years our branch has disbanded. We will no longer be meeting together on the first Saturday of each month to plan community service and learn something new. No more lucky cup and napkin prizes, no more pots of tea and sharing our stories.
In case you don’t know what Women’s Institute is, it is an organization which began in Canada when a farm wife Adelaide Hoodless learned about pasteurization after her son had died from drinking unpasteurized milk. Horrified that her son’s death had been preventable she felt she needed to share this information with other women. The motto for the organization is For Home and Country. Do you remember the movie Calendar Girls? The group they belonged to was Women’s Institute.
I will miss the group. When we talked about it at the luncheon we agreed that given the internet available everywhere for education that role of our group is now covered, especially for people living in cities. I believe that the work we do in the community will be missed. Our final work as a group was to give our remaining funds from the sale of our hall to a number of charities in our area. In the end we can be proud of the work that was done by our group over the ninety years.
Posted in Reflections
Tagged baking, change, charity, community, community service, disband, friends, kindness, knitting, lucky cup, lucky napkin, mothers, quilting, reflection, tea, time, wives, women, Women's Institute