This first week of Advent has been a time of real blessing with Pete settling into a routine that we pray will lead to his complete recovery. We’re a full week behind in our usual Advent “routine” and itching to make up for lost time over the weekend.
Mom’s Christmas pillows will be the first to come out of hiding this year. She knitted them from Dad’s designs and they are among the real treasures of the season. We’re planning to put up the tree on Saturday and set it glittering with light. We’ll light the second candle of Advent on Sunday with friend and colleague Mary Stadnyk who plans to join us for dinner.
It’s traditional in our house to whip up a batch of potato pancakes on the First Sunday of Advent every year and since we weren’t able to do that last week, we’ll give it a go on Sunday and serve them with roast chicken, mashed potatoes and a cherry crisp* for desert.
This year, especially, I’ve been collecting readings, meditations and prayers from a variety of sources to reflect on throughout Advent. I’ll be sharing some of these readings with you, starting with a wonderfully meaningful assortment of Advent Prayers from Creighton University’s Online Ministries.
The first one is entitled “Watching the Sunrise During Dark Mornings of Advent,” and I read it this morning just as the sun began to rise over the trees that frame the lake:
“Thank you. What a gift this morning from you as I watched the blazing sunrise through a cloudy winter sky. It is hard getting up these dark mornings, Lord, and yet you gift me with a sight that I miss at other times of the year, when the weather is warmer and the sun rises before I get up. I stared out the window at the red and purple light, gloriously framed by the gold of the rising sun. ‘Be still and know that I am God’ was the only thing that came to me. I watched in silence, filled with a sense of your presence in my life.
“I am filled with gratitude this day for such a treasure and could feel it and see it as a gift from you. Thank you for your love. Today, let me carry a sense of how much you love me to send such a gift. …Your glory fills my spirit and I want only to give thanks with my life this day.”
Ingredients: Vegetable oil spray; 1/3 cup all-purpose flour; 3/4 cup rolled oatmeal; 1/3 cup butter; 1/3 cup sugar; 1 16-ounce can pitted sour cherries in natural juice; 1/3 cup sugar; 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch; 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil. In a bowl, combine flour and rolled oatmeal. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add 1/3 cup sugar and mix well. Set aside.
Drain cherries, reserving cherries and juice in separate bowls.
In a saucepan, combine remaining sugar with cornstarch, spices and lemon juice. Slowly blend in cherry juice. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly until sauce is thick and clear. Add cherries. Pour into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with topping. Back 30 minutes.
After the candles are lit, serve the crisp and share the glow.