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    DecemberTerm, Day 3

    December 1, 2010 by Brandy Vencel

    So far, so good, other than some disciplinary issues. I think that what I planned for this year is much more manageable than last year. It felt a little chaotic and rushed last year, a little jumbled and thrown-together. So far, I feel like this year is going to be a good fit.

    Today was our first Advent organ recital. It was pretty amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever been to an organ concert, and I know the children haven’t, so it was new for us. I never realized how much training my children to sit through church would come in handy in other arenas. Knowing that they regularly sit and stay quiet meant that I could (almost) trust that they’d do it in this environment.

    It worked out okay, other than the leaky diaper issue.

    I have a love/hate relationship with Target brand diapers, but I digress.

    The first piece was a Bach work. There is a long portion of the piece that is played with the feet. Q,-Age-Three leaned over and quietly asked me how the organ was playing by itself. I didn’t anticipate that she wouldn’t know to look at the musician’s whole body! When I pointed out his feet, she was pretty impressed.

    Dawn shared a post from Dr. Grant today. Here is an excerpt:

    Beginning with Advent, a time of preparation and repentance, proceeding to Christmas, a time of celebration and generosity, and concluding with Epiphany, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, Yuletide traditions enable us to see out the old year with faith and love while ushering in the new year with hope and joy.

    I’ve been thinking about this for a few days, actually ever since Mystie explained that she doesn’t listen to lectures during the Advent season. I couldn’t help but think that though I’m working hard to prepare my children for Christmas, I didn’t think much about my own state during all of my planning sessions.

    Last night, I shelved my nonfiction for the season. (Well, we’ll see. This is a half-hearted resolution at best.) My husband was studying away at his books, and instead of studying myself, I began a Dickens work that I’ve always meant to get around to reading, but never have. I found myself trying to read it like a nonfiction book–trying to yank ideas out of it.

    It can’t be done.

    I had to slow down. The story will only tell me its secrets if I am patient with it.

    I closed the book, took a deep breath, and opened it again. I was reminded of one of my children, who always eats too fast. Chew your food! I reminded myself.

    I began anew, and this time it was different.

    Perhaps my own Advent tradition will be to read literature rather than philosophy, to soothe the mind with story rather than aggravate the heart with knowledge of shortcomings, to come by ideas in the old way, in a story told and chewed on over time.

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  • Reply Kelly December 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Oh, my, I love the organ! I’m so amazed at people who can play with their hands AND their feet, and nothing beats it for pure exaltation and majesty of sound.

    Last week I decided to put away all my regular reading and read The Imitation of Christ during Advent. My habit is the opposite of yours — I read a lot more fiction than non, and reading Imitation is both calming and convicting. “Centering” is a good word for it, I think.

  • Reply beca burnett December 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Brandy, it’s Beca Burnett (Brian’s wife!). I was trying to find an email address for you but can’t find one anywhere! 🙂 Here is my email address, would you mind emailing me? 🙂 Thanks! (

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