Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the first time in four years, we have remained in our northern paradise to celebrate snow. Since Thanksgiving, we've gone snowshoeing on dark afternoons on trails through white spruce forests  laden with snow. The only other tracks are those left by Snowshoe Hares, their large feet bounding from one side of the trail to the other and into the canopy of undergrowth that sagged with heavy snow. Seized with gratitude, I want to sing my joy but to break the silence of the woods seems almost sacrilegious. So I plod on silently, stopping frequently to savor the wonder of such beauty and to give thanks that this winter we've decided to stay until after Christmas.

Here on Lake Superior, the myriad ways in which God is with us are clearly visible, yet we so often neglect to note this presence. Advents comes to shake up our complacency. It reminds us to see the miracles that surround us as we await God’s gift of himself in the Incarnation. 

We spend so much time waiting. We wait on lines in the grocery store. We wait for the Stop sign to change to Slow during road repairs. We wait for fishing season. We wait for school to start, for school to end. We wait for good jobs. We wait for vacation days. We wait for our children, their births, first steps, first words. And now we wait for Christmas and the fulfillment of God's ancient promise.

Yet we are not the only ones who wait. In a beautiful meditation on Advent, Sister Sallie Latkovich, CSJ writes that in Advent we contemplate the three ways of Christ’s coming: in history, in our daily lives, and in the second coming. “ I've been thinking that we've got it all wrong,” she writes. “This Advent I've come to see that it’s GOD who waits for us . . . waits for us to notice the myriad ways in which God is with us, always.”

I think of God waiting as I watch the chickadees, red polls, and nuthatches bounce on an off the feeders, politely taking one seed at a time, flying off to a nearby branch to open the sunflower seed, then waiting their turn to return for another. I think of God waiting as I trudge through the new fallen snow into the winter forests. I think of God waiting as in the early hours I pray the morning liturgy and open myself to all the ways God reveals his love as I move through the day. I pray that you will experience a similar anticipation as you move into your every day. May God's waiting love surround and fulfill your deepest longing. May your Advent be blessed, exceedingly. 

© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2012

About Me

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Beryl is the author of The Scent of God: A Memoir published by Counterpoint NY in 2006 and A View of the Lake published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. in 2001. She’s been living on Lake Superior for seventeen wonderful years, and spent 10 years writing two popular columns for the Cook County News Herald: Newcomer Notes and Putting Down Roots. Beryl is past president of the Schroeder Area Historical Society and a long-time chair of its Oral History and Marketing committees. She is a past board member of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais and committee member for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s first ever annual North Shore Reader and Writers Festival. She’s been published in the Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, and The Trenton Times and in the anthologies, Surviving Ophelia published by Perseus Publications in 2001 and The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2, published by Scarletta Press in 2008 and was named Best of Minnesota Writers by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third memoir: the sequel to The Scent of God.