November 3, 2009

Circular Calendar Monologue

Calendar Girl me is getting ready to speak at MOPS tomorrow. 'Tis a rich season we're approaching. But then I love the richness each season has to offer as we recycle rhythmically around the calendar.

"Around" the calendar wouldn't be a term you'd use, when our calendars are linear and we tend to live linearly as well. God established festivals to recycle each year for establishing traditions, retelling of stories, and re-remembering.

"Live linearly"? Hmmmm .... that's what I love about sitting down to write - to journal. When waking and desiring to post something, living linearly was not in my thoughts. As I write, it's like my fingers are their own being and take off with stuff on their own. And then the rest of me has to pause and reflect ... and I'm thinking, "How cool!" What am I thinking in connection to seeing live linearly on the page?

I'm actually visualizing a line of time. Like I have to speak tomorrow, and then there's a very busy art and tea day at church next weekend I'm involved in. So often when there's things demanding more of me, my default mode thinks "I can't wait for tomorrow to be done with" or "next saturday to be over". Like when Monte had us speaking all over the country, I always had those thoughts. Like I want to jump ahead on my calendar timeline. Hmmmm ... isn't there a movie like that, fast forwarding thru things of life?

When I saw that the main point of Jesus' time with Mary and Martha in the recorded scripture story was that they be present to him in the moment - whether able to sit at his feet, or working in the kitchen, I related that message to my times I'd like to fast-forward thru. No! Not if I'm living beyond just linear time ... Like I'm supposed to be living rhythmically ever present to Loving God and Loving My Neighbor in every moment, aware of his Larger Story he asks me to be a part of.

Sure I can live in my own small story and focused on the past or the future and not really present to the here and now of this moment ... missing God winks!

So what was I going to post today? ;^)
Oh yes, I'm readying to speak on the calendar season tomorrow. I reread my postings a year ago - by clicking on the sidebar months of November thru January, you'd see the calendar season posts I'm not wanting to take the time to link you to. We just passed Halloween, which the stories I connect to that time is Reformation and the following day of All Saints Day, which was a huge turning point in our Christian history. Before that in September thru October are the Jewish Fall Festivals. That's where the calendar book I'm writing begins: The Jewish New Year and God creating our world. The Jewish festival of Sukkot that God instituted to be celebrated every year became our Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving.

I'm taking tomorrow, a picture I drew of my circular calendar (which is posted in June of this year under John the Baptist Day, where I also talk about my living rhythmically). I'm also taking an old Thanksgiving Tree I kept one year. Because I reread last years post, I'm remembering a turning point in this established tradition, and I'm going to share that tomorrow.

Because each year, for years, I've drawn a bare tree on a large piece of paper and put it up before Thanksgiving, and cut out leaves from colored paper for people to write things they're thankful for, Thanksgiving day is rich with thoughts already in a full-of-thanks mode or posture. Last year the wall space was not there for the tree, since I'd put up more photos, so I didn't do the tree. I waited to see if it was missed. One guest did make a comment I loved! "Where's the tree? I've been thinking of things all week to write on leaves to glue on the tree!!" So I quickly drew a tree and the refrigerator was the decided place to put it and I brought down my can full of colored markers - a way more colorful creative tree of gratitude, from the tangible to intangible, took shape throughout the day!

I'm also taking a Christmas stocking full of things. I keep this stocking in the ready for times when I speak. It's filled with things related to the Saint Nicholas story. When protestantism threw out the church calendar, they threw out so much Christian history rich with Third Testament stories. People used to wake up remembering these stories - which help me remember that if God was there for them, he'll be here for me. People used to wake with lives aware and looking for miracles in their everyday living. Do we, in our linear days? Because we no longer remember St Nicholas and his story on December 6, he's gotten mixed up with Jesus and celebrated on Christmas! I now put up stockings on December 6 and we can tell people as we live the days of December that Santa Claus already came to our house - and then share the real story!

I'm bringing JRR Tolkiens Father Christmas book, as well as The Best Christmas Pageant Ever book (my favorite read-aloud every year! - such a healing story for me at one point of my life), and Madeline L'Engle's Dance in the Desert book. Dawson and friends dramatized that book one year using things from the "Dress Up Box" (Halloween is such a good time to find great things for a dress up box: wigs, funny glasses, long gloves, costumes of animals ... I've still got the stuff in a barrel, awaiting Grandkids!). In the days following Christmas (the 12 Days of Christmas) there's a day remembering all the children ordered murdered by Harod in Jesus' story, which too remembers an OT scripture mentioning the wailing Hebrew mothers for their slaughtered children. The Dance in the Desert book imagines the fleeing "Holy Family" (as depicted in so much art) crossing the desert to Egypt in a caravan, and one night all of creation comes to pay homage to the Christ child.

Since I'm posting on this season, I'll post a picture of the pumpkin Dawson carved this year. His friend Aaron helped him draw it out first. In case you can't tell, it's a Jesus face pumpkin. Since we were out of town last week, he did it at a friend's house and I've not seen the real thing. I wish I could see it, cuz it's unreal looking!

Where am I ending my seasonal talk tomorrow? My handout takes everyone thru the Advent season. The Christian Calendar begins with Advent, awaiting God Incarnate, enfleshed in the birth of a baby. Last year's December link defines this season for you with daily scripture readings, if you'd like. The 12 Days of Christmas culminate January 6 with Epiphany, remembering the adoration of the Magi. Then my handout has some Third Testament story days with St Nicholas and St Lucia, on the 13th (our Swedish roots, yet she's not Swedish!), and Hanukkah. Then there's Boxing Day, St Stephen's day, Peter Pan day (you've got to read my post on this!), Childermas, Circumsicion Day (yes, it's a part of the Jesus story and art depicts it!), ending with Ground Hog Day.

Why Ground Hog Day, and how does that connect with the Incarnation of God story? Originally, February 2 was, and is, Candlemas Day: the day Jesus, "a light to lighten the gentiles", was presented at the temple, and old Anna and Simeon were patiently awaiting him.
"One generation makes known your faithfulness to the next."
- Isaiah 38:19

"...for they shall hear from us about the wonders of the Lord, generations yet unknown will hear of the miracles he did for us."
- Psalms 22:30-31

"Enter God's gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."
- Psalm 100
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