advent iv: change (again and one more time)

“Here we are again, Lord, over and over, again and one more time we come before you.” -quoted by Aaron Smith in Ragamuffin Prayers

We read the same books each year, put up the same decorations and make the same food. We sing the same songs and tell the same stories. Every year, over and over, again and one more time we prepare our hearts and we wait.

One of our traditions is to buy an ornament for each member of the family and to place it at the nativity scene. I bought Mike a Mr. Bates ornament because he watched a lot of Downton Abbey this year, and he is very concerned about Mr. Bates. He got me those stars back there, because Atticus loves stars. And also because of joy. We got our boy an airplane to celebrate the year he took his first airplane ride and visited the Air and Space museum and went to an air show, and because every single time he hears an airplane, he scans the sky in order to find it. Again and one more time we find ourselves at the manger, waiting and then celebrating. We are different, but the story is the same.

The repetition shows me what has changed while the waiting reveals things about my own heart. Two years ago, I was expecting along with Mary. Last year, I was just trying to keep my head above water. This year, there is joy. Atticus is a delight and I said yes to things and we all got some sleep. I have wrestled with my misfit tendencies and begun to carve out a place for myself. I have wrestled with the Bible and discovered a new love for the story it tells. I have wrestled with God and found a new peace in my faith.

This is my favorite story, the Incarnation. Every year, over and over, again and one more time we return to it.

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