From here on out, my major problem with Christmas isn't the anticipation. In some ways, I could really use the season being over, for God's sake. Every Sunday in Advent brings another church function that I really need to be at after Mass, or one that I need to come back for, or one where I show up at 8 am and leave at 6. There are opportunity for spirituality every week during the week and on the weekends. There is shopping that needs to be done, social obligations that I really should find the time to go to, and somewhere in there, I'm supposed to work at my real job.
Then there's my 8:30.
Going to it is often a struggle, because I've gotten home, eaten, petted the cats...It's cold outside, and dark, and do I really want to leave my house again?
At 8:20, I find my coat and keys and walk over to the church. Michael's usually there before me, marking our books with the page numbers. His partner will show up soon if he's not there already. The priest's husband comes. A couple other people trickle into the lighted warmth.
The service of Evensong and Compline in Sapentiatide reminds me why I struggle. In this season of dark and cold, there comes light and music. The waiting is almost over. There is something to wait for, and I know it. The prayers are deep in my bones, I *have* to pay attention to what I'm saying because it changes slightly everyday...there is no glossing inattentively. And with the attention, with the pacing of the service slowly and with deliberation, I hear what the words tell me about myself and about my God to be incarnate.
Michael gave me the gift of the sung service a couple years ago, and when our relative schedules went wonky, it was one of things I missed most. I still try and do Compline occasionally by myself, but it is not the same without two people. These are services to be done in community, and they remind me of my own.
To thee before the close of day
Creator of the world we pray
That with thy wonted favor thou
woulst be our guard and keeper now.