Anne Lamott: An Advent tradition

I re-read Anne Lamott’s 1998 essay, “My Advent Adventure,” every year at this time, and I’ve made it a kind of tradition to post parts of it here and encourage everyone else to read it too.

“God has set up a tent among us and will help us work together on our stuff,” she says. “For you … and for me; together, over time.”

We are now in the third week of Advent, which is a big time of year for my Jesusy people.

Anne Lamott

The new church year begins and a new note is struck: It is a time of preparation and waiting, because even though, as autumn grinds to a dark and murky halt, everything is dying and falling asleep and falling off, something brand new is coming. Hope is coming. And so one of the messages of Advent is, don’t weep over leaves.

… The belief is that enough hope and tenderness will lead to world peace,one mind at a time. All nations will come together in kindness and justice, swords will be beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks.

… I want that belief, and that patience; I checked the box on the form choosing that. But it has not been forthcoming.

… So I called my Jesuit friend, Tom, who is a hopeless alcoholic of the worst sort, sober now for 22 years, someone who sometimes gets fat and wants to hang himself, so I trust him. I said, “Tell me a story about Advent. Tell me about people getting well.”

He thought for a while. Then he said, “OK.”

Read the rest at Salon.


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  • Amaryllis

    A few days late for the solstice, but this is one of my traditional readings of the season:
    Winter Solstice, Cmaelot Station, by John M. Ford.

    the one who is King says “It all seemed so simple, once,”

    And the best knight in the world says “It is. We make it hard.”

    And at the great glass station, motion goes on,

    The extras, the milk trains, the varnish, the limiteds,

    The Pindar of Wakefield, the Lady of the Lake,

    The Broceliande Local, the Fast Flying Briton,

    The nerves of the kingdom, the lines of exchange,

    Running on schedule as the world ought,

    Ticking like a hot-fired hand-stoked heart,

    The metal expression of the breaking of boundaries,

    The boilers that turn raw fire into power,

    The driving rods that put the power to use,

    The turning wheels that make all places equal,

    The knowledge that the train may stop but the line goes on;

    The train may stop

    But the line goes on.

  • MMorse

    I re-read this every year as well, Fred. It sparks something deep inside of me each and every time. A very merry Christmas to you and yours. May your days be merry and bright.

  • ScorpioUndone

    I follow your link on this every year. I’m a few days late, but better than skipping it.  Thanks for sharing it. Again. =)