by Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez
A postcard arrived in the mail one day last December. It was an everyday postcard, nothing marked it as special or holiday like. Except the message, written by my friend. “Happy Advent” it read.
I smiled. I remembered sharing with my friend how much I loved the season of Advent. I loved getting ready for the hope found in a mere babe born to the have-nots of their time. I loved the distinct color of blue used to symbolize this season of watchful hope.
This particular Advent, I was not hopeful. Our children were unhappy at school, my husband’s work and commute were stressful, and many family members needed our help. I was worn out, feeling stuck, and waiting for the frantic holiday season to end. Hope was not on my menu.
The postcard gently reminded me of my love for a quiet season often lost in the chaos of December. It stirred again in me something I was having trouble grasping in my overwhelmed state of mind. I could not fully feel what I wanted to feel. I could however remember, with the help of my friend, the calm, reflective emotional state I would like to move into.
As we moved through December into January, Advent hope came with me in a way it had not in previous years. Outside my window the winter snow that had fallen in December continued to reflect in the skies an Advent blue at dawn and dusk. The sky reminded me of the slow and steady movement it takes to make change in our lives. Advent hope came in a decision to move closer to my husband’s work and transfer our children to schools in our new community.
Hope seemingly absent in December, slowly came alive in January. Hope did not follow the traditional liturgical calendar but came in a predictable sequence nonetheless. Hope in the unexpected form of a postcard fed me and I was transformed into a lowly shepherd keeping watch over my family flock with the words of the angels rising in my ears, “Do not be afraid.”
January gave way to February. The blue evening sky appeared out my window later each evening. The darkness of December predictably gave way to the increasing light. I was calm again. My voice rose once more in song: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”
Jennifer Ohman-Rodriguez writes from Iowa.