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Monday, November 28, 2011

What are you waiting for???

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

What are you waiting for???
 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke 2:25-31(KJV)

Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming") is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas

There’s always a good reason to wait, right? We wait to grow up; wait until we’re better educated; better invested; until things makes sense.  We can always find an excuse.  Who are we listening to when we decide? “Them??” Who are “they,” anyway?? Do we ever wait, listening for the wisdom of anybody more important than “they?”

My family could very well have waited for a better time to drive 17 hours each way to visit my mother and 92 year-old bed-ridden grandmother this Thanksgiving.  I could catalog several legitimate reasons not to make the trip, and in fact I did detail a few for my husband when he suggested the trip several weeks ago.  For all my logic, practicality, being selfless and responsible, my husband said merely it’s not that we should or shouldn’t go, it’s that we must.  I need to listen to whom he hears…he was right.  We needed to be there, and I cannot articulate how thankful I am to God and my husband that our family AND the dog made the trip. 

My niece flew in from Texas to provide respite care to Mom, who is primary caregiver to Granny, recently bed-ridden.  Mom herself is not well, and Granny’s not an easy patient.  My niece arrived like a whirlwind, taking absolute control of mommy’s home, making all the difference.  When we arrived, mommy was calm, rested, even happy, not at all like she’s sounded over the last several months over the phone.  My niece figured out something I seemed to be struggling with: this couldn’t wait.  Once again the question, “what are you waiting for?”

We wait because we are afraid.  Sometimes, we should be afraid not to move, rather than being afraid to act.  In my braver moments, my call to action is “ask for forgiveness, not for permission.” Those are not the words of a waiting woman.  Those are the words of a vanguard. I need more of the latter and a lot less of the former.  It’s time to wait differently.

Waiting is not necessarily bad.  You see, Advent is the season of “waiting expectantly.” It’s waiting with a plan.  Waiting on a thing instead of waiting “until.”  You see, “until” does not have a precise definition, standing alone.  Simeon the Righteous waited.  According to Luke’s account, he would not face death until he met the Messiah.  Simeon waited with a plan.  Simeon also had the good sense to listen to someone besides “they.”  If you are waiting, who are you listening to??

This morning, I began a 25-day Advent devotion plan.  I’m waiting expectantly.  I am preparing to receive the blessing of Christmas .  Writing in his blog, Below the Surface, A Conversation Between a Priest and a People about Life in Christian Community, the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett says it so much better than I could…..

At the end of Advent, of course, comes our celebration of Christmas, of the birth of Jesus in history and also of the longing of the Risen Christ to be born anew in our hearts.  It is not a mistake that the time leading up to Christmas is abundant with apocalyptic images:  for if Christ is truly to be born anew in each of us, there are things in our lives which must be overturned, aspects of ourselves and our personal worlds that must be allowed to collapse so that a truer self, a more compassionate self, a more just personal world may be born – out of which we may act more justly in the larger world we inhabit.

Much like the lessons I learned cutting my hair, there are things from which I need to break free.  So, to the original question, “what are you waiting for?” I’m waiting for a Word from the Lord.  And, what shall I do while I wait? I will work on my plan, um, I meant His Plan for me. Expectant waiting and preparation…like waiting for a new baby…like waiting for a fabulous meal to be ready to eat…like waiting for the next evolution of yourself to be born.  I wait, but not like those who have no hope, no plan.  And even when I do not know what the next evolution will be, expectant waiting is a blessing. A blessed reminder that God is Good.

Today’s feast: Homemade roasted chicken soup (my version of Jewish Penicillin) 

Back story~by the time we were ready to leave Grandma’s house and head for home, both kids were sick.  Anybody can open up a can of condensed soup, and it takes not much more to make it from scratch…..and it’s better.  Just ask my babies…

5 chicken wings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3-4 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
32oz low sodium chicken stock in a box
1 medium yellow, onion chopped
¾ C Carrots, sliced
¼ C scallions
3 stems, fresh thyme
Dash of low sodium soy sauce
Leftover noodles, or 3 cups cooked egg noodles (I use semolina egg noodles)

Wash chicken wings and toss with salt and pepper, olive oil, and crushed garlic.  Place in a preheated oven and roast until golden brown.  Caramelize the onions in the remaining olive oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.  Add the carrots and deglaze the pan with the stock.  Add in the roasted chicken, thyme, and cook until chicken falls off the bone.  Remove wings from the pot, cleaning the bones, shred and return to soup pot.  Taste, and adjust seasoning by adding soy sauce (or any other flavor you’d like to have in your soup.)

Toss in the noodles, and simmer until they’re warm.  Just before serving, add in the scallions.

You’ll feel better before the bowl is empty.

Making it sexy….add any or all of the following:
  • ·         Curry powder
  • ·         Minced fresh ginger
  • ·         A spring of fresh rosemary
  • ·         A spring of fresh tarragon

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