I took this weekend off. I didn't take all my vacation last year and figured it out too late, so this time I sat down with my calendar and thought, "Hmm. When will I be tired?" and blocked off the first Sunday of Advent, Valentine's Sunday, and some appropriate family vacation time. I didn't know then that I would spend the week before this break with the burial and memorial service of a friend and colleague, and how tired I would be right now. Nor did I know my mother-in-law would ask to take the boys for the weekend to see her sister in Iowa. Nor did I know I would spend much of it very, very, sick.
But a break it is, and we did some Christmas shopping (nearly finished) and saw Devotchka and Leo Kottke and have had some quiet time together in the house. I have propped myself up on the couch and watched whatever _I_ wanted to watch, without negotiating with my eldest son.
But Sunday morning off , especially living inches from the church, is weird. I used to be able to skip church all together, but I haven't been able to for the last year or so. Part of the Covenant Discipleship expectation (I'm in one of our several groups here at Fairmount) is that we attend worship if able. Maybe that is working on me. Or maybe I just know I need to worship once in awhile, even though it is hard to turn off the what-can-I-learn-today part of hearing someone else preach. So I woke up this morning, here next door to church, and had to figure out where to go.
I ended up at House of Hope Presbyterian on Summit. It's a big steeple church, elegant, gorgeous, formal. The music was stunning. We had communion (seated, with the elements distributed one at a time.) I couldn't see the preacher -- he was in the preaching nest and I was, late, seated behind a pillar. But it was a solid, thoughtful, pastoral reflection on the apocalyptic texts of Advent I usually struggle to address myself. And I got to be moved by worship without worrying about pulling myself together for the next part of the service.
My boys are on the road home now -- I miss them terribly-- and I have Advent candles for us to light together. And I still have (barring a funeral in the next few days) two days off to laze about or prepare for the season. Happy first Sunday of Advent.