Advent Joys (also a post about Buttercup….)

Advent started later than usual this year, due to Christmas being on a Monday; it was strange not lighting candles right after Thanksgiving, but now that it’s already the 8th, candles flicker on our coffee table each evening, and I relish their gentle glow, as well as pondering the day’s Advent reading.  Our house isn’t overly decorated; I’ve given the majority of baubles to my daughters, through which their little ones are learning our family’s traditions.  And then there is one member who has claimed various quilts as her own….

Buttercup is probably around eleven years old; she is a rescue dog my eldest and her hubby adopted right after they married in 2012.  A basset-beagle mix, she was christened the grand-basset upon her entry into our family, and while actual nietos have arrived, she still earns her fair share of attention.  Last year when I quilted the tree skirt my eldest had sewn, we joked that it would belong to Buttercup once it found its proper place under the tree.  And sure enough, as soon as it was set out, BC claimed it as her own.

However, she’s still very fond of the sofa….

Now attired in her traditional Christmas sweater….

This Advent season has a reinforced message for my clan, what with waiting for a baby as well as the birth of Christ; Little Miss was eleven days late, and while Lil’ Sis isn’t officially due until this weekend, this weekend is practically upon us, dude!  If nothing else, an infant will join us before we celebrate Christmas, and I wonder if in looking back at this special season, will I recall the eagerness to snuggle a newborn alongside more weighty notions?  Babies at Christmastime seem extra special, or maybe I can say that being a grandmother, ha ha.  I’m trying to get much accomplished now, because very soon the days will be greatly altered, although we have no idea exactly when that change will happen.  And Advent is much the same, preparing our hearts for an immense gift that occurred over two thousand years ago, and is still happening right this minute, even if Buttercup sleeps through it.

I made the Christmas quilt a couple of years ago, I think? And the one on the sofa is the Mijos Quilt, one of the first I ever fashioned.

There is a quilt to finish, placemats and coasters too, presents to wrap, and still to purchase, ahem.  But more there is the peace to be found regardless of tasks and stresses, a peace that might seem slightly shaken by a newborn’s cries, a peace sometimes rattled by current events, but a perfect peace that overcomes all distractions.  That peace lies within our hearts, no way to keep it out, if we just look for it.  Buttercup is a good example of that peace, plopping herself on whatever quilt is handy, and at my daughter’s house, there’s a good number of them.

Or she finds what remains of a lap in which to snuggle.  And this is our call during Advent, to claim as our own the best gift of all; Christ’s peace abounds in unfathomable mercy, complete joy, immeasurable love.  Every evening as I light candles, I’m reminded not of what I didn’t accomplish that day, but of how each day I am blessed by that fantastic grace which goes so far over my head I can’t truly contemplate it, but still I try, for it matters so much.  In all the things I need to remember concerning this holiday, Christ’s peace tops the list.  Amid all the holiday bustle, may that peace be yours this Advent season.

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