First Sunday of Advent. Gone. We didn’t even make it to church let alone dig out the numerous books on it!
We were ready to go out the door to church, the boys and I. Mark had gotten a ride earlier with a co-worker. The three of us had our coats on. I went to get my keys and a vague memory from the night before surfaced. I couldn’t find them last night when I had to run an errand. I had taken Mark’s keys to the store. Where were mine? Mark had taken his keys with him this morning. I checked my purse. I looked in the bin where keys are supposed to be. Nothing. I checked my purse again. Then the kitchen counters and my bedroom. I checked coat pockets. The boys checked my purse. Nothing.
“Did I lose them on Friday when I was out?” I wondered.
The boys were wondering if we were going to church. “Not if I can’t find the keys.” It was ten minutes later. No keys anywhere in sight. At 9 am when church started, I told the boys we were not going because I couldn’t find the keys. I had a car, no keys. The irony of it all! I sent Mark a message. DO U KNOW WHERE MY KEYS ARE? I wondered if he had pocketed them and then forgot.
I began to worry I had lost my keys! (Perhaps someone stole them for the Lego Superwoman mini-figure keychain or Princess Leah.) Probably not.
I picked up my purse one more time. I was going to clean it out and check for the keys. I pulled all the “stuff” out of my purse. I checked the pockets. And then at the bottom of a pocket, there they were! I am positive I checked this pocket at least three times. They weren’t there before! It was 9:40am. Relief. I had not lost my keys!
Fast track to the afternoon. I had given my son, this thing called the Rainbow Loom that makes bracelets from rubber bands. He’d been making them on his fingers but was asking for it. I decided not to wait for Christmas because by then, who knows whether the interest would have faded. He made bracelets all day. (Yes that loom has paid for itself!) He decided to google how to make a ladder bracelet. A more difficult bracelet. He got it all the way done except for the last step only to have it fall apart in his small fingers. He tried again and again, only to have it fall apart. I looked at it and told him where he seemed to be going wrong. I was on pins and needles because I really wanted him to succeed. I wasn’t sure what would happen if he couldn’t make it work. I figured a major meltdown and the loom cast aside.
After the third try, he took my advice and took a break. After supper, he went back to it, found a different video to watch and successfully made the bracelet! He was ecstatic and so was I.
So what does all this have to do with the advent? Because of what didn’t happen. I didn’t get mad because I lost my keys and couldn’t go to church. Because I didn’t get upset, neither did the boys. There was no guilt or remorse for yelling or saying something I shouldn’t.
I didn’t lecture Ben when he was making the bracelet or let my anxiety for him to succeed take over. I let him fail on his own and just encouraged him. He didn’t get upset at his mistakes. He kept trying and learned that he could do it! It was a positive experience for both of us. This may not seem like much to you but it is a HUGE deal to me. A year ago, six years ago the scenario would have been much more uglier.
Today I am celebrating victory and hope. On Facebook, one of my friends kids’ were lighting the advent candle of hope at their church. We may not have lit a candle but hope was here yesterday. Hope for a better future. Hope that things can and will have a different ending. All the things that have been swirling around in my brain about believing, leaving a new and different legacy for my kids, all showed up on the first day of advent here. There was victory. And isn’t that what advent prepares us for? The birth of the child who brought hope to the world. Hope for something, someone, better. Hope for change. Hope for a life well lived. And that child grew up and died for us so we could have not just the hope of it, but the victory. He gave us that victory in his death. In a very small but meaningful way, hope and victory graced us with their presence on the first Sunday of advent, even though there were no candles, no service. Instead advent played itself out in very ordinary life. I can live with that. No, I can embrace that.