Monday, November 26, 2012


Jasper is not so sure about winter jackets. He puts up a good fight getting into them. He's wiry and strong and determined to remain in one layer come hell or high water. Sometimes I break a sweat before we're done.

It snowed this weekend. I arrived in Lindstrom on Thanksgiving Day wearing a flannel and cropped pants. No - it was so thin it doesn't deserve to be called a flannel. And Sperrys sans socks. Whoops. The rest of the weekend was spent further north and I had to get creative.

It's not that I dislike winter - I just love fall. Everything prior to Daylight Savings Time is precious and fleeting. So I resist between then and Advent One. Apparently, so does my son.

But if you can get us bundled up and outside, we're happier. We take it all in. We get quiet and point to the moon and smile. We're glad for the chill on our cheeks and our warm ears tucked away from the wind.

We are entering the long and dark season in which things get simple. As Garrison Keillor likes to say, "We're either in here or out there. If we're in here, we're just glad to be in here. And if we're out there, it's all about getting from out there to in here." That's life in Minnesota half the time. It means sweaters and slow cookers and wool socks and candles. It means shoveling and sledding and skiing and scraping your car. The stuff getting on your nerves or demanding your attention back in August is gone. Long gone.

Most people are tired of the phrase "fiscal cliff" and are taking a break from political sniping. We're stoned on turkey. We haven't completely given up hope in our Fantasy Football leagues. We are quiet for a little while before the pulse of Christmas Chaos starts pounding in our heads. For now it is just darkness - the call to resist, the call to surrender, and the palpable waiting that makes this time of year sacred.

We're welcoming a few new members at Zion this Sunday. It's New Year's Day according to the church calendar. It's time to dive into something new - to stake a claim on the future and whatever's coming at us. It's much easier to resist that new life when we're by ourselves - when no one is there to wrestle us into jackets and discipleship. And so we get together and claim allegiance to the beautiful and broken church that makes sure we're never alone. This is where our resistance meets peace - we receive an invitation to surrender to reality: it's cold and dark, but we've got to get out there.

So light a candle and grab your hat.
May this season make space in the noise for quiet.
May it pull you outside where you can point to the moon and smile.

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