Post 39/Saturday 5 December . . . A fresh-cut Fraser fir graces our home. According to the tag, “Christmas trees bring new life to our environment. During its growing years this tree has cleaned the air, provided oxygen, secured the soil against erosion, made a home for wildlife and beautified the land. For every tree sold, 3 seedlings are planted in its place.” Thank you, good tree and thank you dedicated environmental minders.
Our tree in Christmas Present lets us get whiffs of pine fragrance, trace memories in ornaments and music, beautify our indoors, engage our souls in Advent reflections and inhale the Christmas spirit. In a weary world, in a ravaged land, my heart both pines and rejoices; waiting, weighted, even as wonder hangs in the air. As the song states, may God bless you and send you a happy New Year.
City of Goshen, Indiana, county seat, population 33,566.
The City of Elkhart, our home for 40+ years
City of Elkhart, population 52,366. We moved to Greencroft Goshen two years ago and are pretty much getting acclimated there.
Following a number of appointments in Elkhart, we did a walk in the Wellfield Botanic Gardens and then paid our first visit to Artisan, to celebrate my birthday. We were surprised with a warm welcome by managing partner Brad Canniff who gave us a tour of the place, and a card and a printed menu that said, “Happy Birthday John Bender.”
Marty chose a root vegetable salad, and a main of scallops (roasted squash, mushroom, turnip, celeriac mash, sumac). I had a beet parfait and a main of salmon (pan seared, wild caught, red lentil puree, sorrel, braised cabbage, bacon). And as apropos to the occasion, caramel creme brulee. All tastily delightful, as you might imagine. The Artisan truly does offer fine food, pleasing ambience, and attentive service, encompassed in the words: exceptional hospitality. And I have a dear spouse who deftly took care of the bill.
Wellfield Botanic Gardens
Lights in Goshen
Ox Bow County Park
Last Sunday afternoon
Ok, ok, but, no, you can’t go
Willard Roth, who chairs the Spiritual Life Committee at Greencroft Goshen, wrote an Advent reflection that appeared in this week’s Campus Life newssheet. Reprinted by permission.
Give thanks as we WAIT
by Willard Roth
Since early centuries Christians have kept time by the rhythm of the gospel seasons. The four Sundays before Christmas make up the new year’s first season. It’s called Advent, which means arrival or coming–the coming of Christ as a human being into a world of humans.
A time for getting ready
A time for preparing
A time for anticipating
A time for waiting.
We don’t like to wait. Lines and queues are frustrating. We want instant check cashing, and instant coffee, and instant oatmeal, and the traffic light to change when we get to the intersection, and microwaves when we count seconds rather than ovens where we calculate in minutes. Waiting is tough because we are out of control Not being in control makes us fearful, afraid, unsettled.
But stop to think of it, are we really ever in control of anything? Waiting belongs to the very nature of human existence: we wait to be born; we wait to die; we wait in between for kids to be born and parents to die. Yet most of us find waiting to be tough and troublesome, especially in a Covid-dominated year.
Writer Anne Lamott has said the two best prayers she knows are, “help me, help, help me,” and “thank you, thank you, thank you.” God, in this unprecedented time, as we move through the season of Advent once again, but in a way we never have before, we pray as we wait: help us, help us, help us; thank you, thank you, thank you!
Grateful for so much in this time of waiting