Season’s Greetings my beloveds!

There will be no formal blog posts this week or next week as I am taking a bit of a holiday. I’m feeling a bit of “writer’s block” and want to take some time over the holidays to rest, reflect and recoup. I’m hoping to gather inspiration for the new year and be back with all kinds of adventures for us to share. Until then, stay safe, hug who you can, and be blessed!

Keep Away

Welcome back my friends, and thanks for joining me each week and taking an interest in our rather (seemingly) un-eventful lives as I share glimpses of what my brain processes every now and then. Believe it or not, it’s been quite busy in the Mitton household this week… we finally attempted to put up some Christmas decorations (although we still haven’t fully unloaded all the boxes yet!) and yes, I tried my hand at the citrus garlands (read about it here). We all have been working long hours and feeling the pinch of time. We also started our dog training this week. An adventure all its own. “Reese” is now seven months old and at that awkward teenage male stage — perfect to start training. *insert eye roll here*

Among the books and plans and online “games” to keep said dog entertained, mentally stimulated, and on his way to becoming the perfect dog, we learned that food is highly motivating. Typical for any teenage boy, right? But I digress… Training. We have been practicing our “sit stays” as well as something called avoiding the “keep aways”. A “keep away” is when your off leash pup easily responds to your voice and comes ever-so-obediently to just within arms reach – and then quickly dodges your grab – and eagerly runs in the opposite direction. All fun and games as we attempt a catch-me-if-you-can chase. Tongue a’ lollygagging all the while. Mothers of toddlers also understand this game… especially just before bath time or as you head out the door. Who needs shoes — or even clothes — am I right?

Okay, so you get the picture. Now let’s push it out a bit and begin to ponder with me… how many times have you played the “keep away” game? I’m just as guilty as my doggie. I tend to be an avoider. I struggle with the conflict or the confrontation, or simply just don’t want to give up my freedom for something that might be hard or challenging. I know I am not alone. Lots of us play keep away… not only with others, but often with God. Have you had that niggling of the Spirit one too many times to do something or say something, and you eagerly move towards the obedience just to turn away at the last minute? Even when our hearts are in the right place and we want to obey, our fears and misgivings often get in the way of the final commitments to get “locked in”. Those nasty little “what ifs” make us second guess, doubt and scare us out of what could be special treats and pleasant rewards.

Or perhaps you are a bit like Jonah and Nineveh. Jonah 4 lets us in on Jonah’s secret: He didn’t head off to Tarshish because he was afraid, he really was throwing a little pity party and wanted God to have the Ninevites pay for their wicked ways…not repent and be granted mercy! Maybe you “keep away” to watch from the sidelines as someone struggles or fails when you could be in there sharing God’s love and mercy. Are you out for revenge and eager to watch the wicked get their “just desserts”? Even when God calls you to love and compassion?

I’m here with you, my friend. “Reese” and I are both on the journey to learning. Both of us are in training to give in to the gentle tug on the leash and avoid the keep away game. And if you are here, then maybe you are on the journey with us. Or maybe you are just starting the journey and are getting “leashed up” shall we say in this whole following God thing. I encourage you to share! mittonmusings never claims to be perfect. It’s simply sharing the adventure as we walk along. And I am pretty sure the treats in God’s reward pouch are worth it. Until next week, my friends!

Another Advent

There’s not much been going on over here this week… we are all waiting for Covid-19 to be over and life to get back to some semblance of “normal”. And yet, all this waiting reminded me of advent and the whole idea of anticipation. So, this week you get a throwback to post published a while ago on Advent and the idea of waiting. Enjoy.

image by Kelly Sikkema (unsplash)

I hate waiting.  I hate waiting in line, I hate waiting for my food to be cooked, I hate waiting for the kids to get out of school.  I just don’t like sitting around with nothing to do when something else should be happening.  I bring books or snacks or my phone or a crochet project on long car rides because my hands need to be doing something (or else I crash into a nap… which is a whole other story).

So, when I discovered that the real meaning of Advent was anticipatory waiting… I wasn’t too keen.  I don’t think many of us are good at waiting.  Have you noticed that radio stations are playing Christmas music already?!  The stores have been in Christmas mode since the day after Halloween!  The marketers out there certainly don’t like waiting!  They want us to be spending our dough faster and faster these days… no waiting!  Order now!  Direct ship!  Buy online!  Available 24 hours, seven days a week!  

Let’s step back for a minute. In case you are not familiar with the term “advent”… it is a traditional practice of the Christian church to anticipate the coming of Christ at Christmas, and then, in turn, His final return to earth.  Similar to the practice of Lent before Easter, it gives us a chance to slow down, to think and ponder, and to hope for the future.  It’s something I have to work on… this waiting.

My first exposure to advent was those cardboard chocolate calendars.

My first exposure to advent was those cardboard chocolate calendars.  The ones with the little doors you would open every day from December first until the 25th.  Back then, I didn’t understand what it meant… I simply enjoyed the treats everyday!  Later, we began to celebrate the four Sundays of advent at our church.  It was then, that I understood the symbolism, the tradition, and the true meaning of the practice.   It is something I have come to cherish as an adult.  It’s a discipline that that reminds me to slow down, to appreciate my family, to encourage my church family, and to rejoice in the season — and not to be so caught up in the rush of the “stuff”.  It forces me to focus each week on learning to wait.  To anticipate.  To revel in the beauty of hope.

Here’s what I have learned about the traditional advent symbolism:  it begins with an evergreen wreath… the symbol of a circle of eternity.  Our Christ is timeless.  He’s been around much longer than the babe in the manger.  Surrounding the wreath are four candles and one central candle.  Each candle is lit on the four Sundays of Advent, and culminate with the lighting of the white, central candle, which is lit on Christmas eve.  This central candle is sometimes referred to as the Christ candle… and represents His purity and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross.  

The first candle is purple.  It represents “hope” and the prophecies that Isaiah spoke about when He described the coming of our special Christmas baby.  The second purple candle represents love, and is sometimes referred to as the Bethlehem candle or the manger candle.  So much love happened in that lowly stable…. I imagine my own beloveds and how the whole world fell away the moment they were born and I saw them for the first time face to face.   Can you imagine Mary’s first glance at her special baby?  Yup, love for sure.  The next candle is pink… and represents joy.   It is the shepherd’s candle.  It embodies the joy and celebration the shepherds must have felt when they were given the good news that a Saviour had been born!  The last candle is also purple and reminds us to be peaceful.   This “angel” candle points us to worship, to reflection, and to remember that the season is not about gifts under a tree, but the ultimate gift given to us.  The One the angels were made for… simply to worship for eternity.  

So… as you prepare for your Christmas season, and you rush out here and there, be reminded of the advent tradition of waiting.  Take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas… Christ’s coming.  Anticipate through hope, love, joy and peace, and the pure and holy sacrifice that Christ paid for you.  May you be blessed, my beloveds, as we journey towards the holidays together.   Take time to rejoice in waiting.  Oh… it shall be no easy task!  Especially if there are Christmas cookies in the oven! But we can practice it together, shall we?

Want to learn more about Advent?  Check out my Pinterest Boards for more ideas on DIY calendars, symbols, studies and more!