Sunday, December 6, 2015

Ironic Advent Meditation #7: People Get Ready

 Ironic Advent Meditation #7: People Get Ready

          As ya’ll all probably already know, Advent comes from the Latin word for chocolate hidden in little windows in cardboard calendars. Well, not really, but tell that to my friend Laura Brown who has a blog post about the her first encounter with Advent (that is, chocolate hidden in little windows in cardboard calendars). Anyway, Advent really means come to (us) and the season of Advent, within the liturgical year of all Christians who observe such a thing, is a season for four weeks before the feast of Christmas.

          Further, it is seen as a time of preparation, repentance, and focusing on the meaning of the (eventual) coming of Christ. That gets more than a little confusing (thus my entire concept of ironic Advent) because it is a time of preparation for the coming of the baby, and the coming of the kingdom when the baby (now grown, dead, resurrected, and gone back to heaven) will return in power and glory, AND the coming of the presence of Christ in our lives at Christmas and in the lives of believers at the eucharist (communion). That’s a lot of stuff. Thus, I always have a lot to ironize. That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s important. That means I do.

          But since I didn’t have my computer yesterday, so I didn’t get a “meditation” posted, let me do the ironic thing and send one out about being ready. People Get Ready. That’s the name of an absolutely great old song, not sure if it’s a gospel song, a soul song, a rock song. I know: it’s an Advent song (Laura Brown!). And if my tech don’t fail me now, there should be a link to the song at the end of the meditation. But, you could say I wasn’t ready to fulfill my personal obligation to myself to get a meditation done yesterday.  

          Well, for that matter, you could probably say I’ve never been totally ready for most of the great things that have happened in my life. Being born (for sure), my first kiss (definitely wasn’t ready for that), winning some awards in sports that I didn’t think I deserved, getting married, being a parent, the ending of Sixth Sense (I mean, come on, who was ready for that!), losing a parent, losing the other parent, losing a brother. You don’t really get ready for that sort of stuff. Or, I guess, no matter how ready you think you are or you try to be, it’s never enough.

          But that’s OK, I think. Advent is a time of getting ready for SO DANG MANY THINGS (see list above), the best of us are still flying by the seat our pants when the Overwhelming Dose of power, justice, and love whops us upside the head (if He/She/It ever does). Still. Still. Still. We have a season to get ready. To listen to the words of the prophets. To consider the ministry of the wild holy Baptist (John, not Frank the guy from Shreveport). To be quiet and wait. And to be loud and busy.    Because waiting to get the big Christmas . . . gift might (and probably should) get us thinking about what the heck we should be doing so that the world is a little more or even a lot more Christmassy for the anxious, lonely, confused people all around us.

          “People Get Ready. There’s a Train a’coming.” As my friend Jennifer said today, there’s a cosmic longing that intersects with this holy time (for those who think it’s holy) or, at least, this very weird liminal time (sociologically/anthropologically speaking). And we try to do a LOT of things to deal with that cosmic longing, sometimes including trying to act like we believe the story again. I have no problem with people who do that. Pascal thought that doing so was a pretty good idea, and I’ve always thought he was smarter than I was. I don’t know the first thing about vacuums, for example.

          Other people just make sure they watch A Charly Brown Christmas, even if they finally can’t go all the way with St. Linus the Evangelist. Is that a bad thing? Other folks just try to think more about and do more for their family and their loved ones. Make a few days really special for them, as if it’s really their birthday instead of that other kid’s. I love those people too. I know a lot of them. May all their peanut brittle be . . . brittle. And sweet.  

          Other people write ironic advent meditations. Or sing songs. Like “O Come O Come Emmanuel.” Or “Santa Baby.” Eww. But, technically, that’s a Christmas song (right Laura?).        

          Me? At least tonight I’m listening to some of the late 60s version of this song--the Chamber Brothers, Aretha, and the Staples Sisters. Maybe, if I feel like switching it up, I'll track down Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck's version (you can google that one). Unfortunately, I can’t go back and listen to the kid whose name I can’t remember who used to play it at Jesus People gatherings in Denver when I was a teenager. My brother Noel would remember. But he’s gone. Or, at least, he's not answering our texts. I know, because Missy said she tried last week.  

          Anyway, it helped me then. Gonna’ try it again.

          Peace, people. Good will too. Make it happen and it will . . . happen. 
<Here is the song done by the Staples Singers (yes, Mavis singing the lead) back in 1968. >
Other great versions by Aretha, the Chambers Brothers, the Impressions (with the author, Curtis Mayfield), Eva Cassidy, and, as I said, by Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck. 



  1. I think Kenny Rankin's was the first version I heard.