Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Salvation At Hand

So, gang, Happy 17 December... and if you're looking for a bigger headline than the one above then, well, you really must be kidding.

As you probably know, today kicks off the "privileged days" of Advent. Best known for their rollout of the ancient "O antiphons," these make up the final octave before Christmas.

Put simply, for those of us whose preparations have been behind the curve these last three or so weeks, this is the calendar's warning siren -- it's last call, church... and so, hopefully no one'll mind too much if your narrator ducks out to take a stab at making the most of it.

For what it's worth, I usually try to grab a couple days of breathing space during the penitential seasons to rest up, pray up, depressurize and clear my head; it tends to make the celebrations a good bit richer when they roll around, not to mention helping a good deal toward getting my focus back where it belongs (because, to be honest and much as I love doing it, a work like this is the last way of keeping one's head clear and stress-free). At the end of what's been an incredible -- and incredibly chaotic -- year, it's even more necessary than usual... and while I don't know about you, more than just sometimes it can be all too easy on this end to just get caught up in the flow of things and let the big stuff slide. Sometimes, though, you've just gotta dig in your heels to handle what's really important, eh?

Bottom line: aside from a brief on Cardinal Dulles' homegoing Mass tomorrow and barring anything else urgent, don't expect too much 'round these parts for the next couple days. Beyond that, there's still a Year-End package to be assembled, and the inbox is so backlogged and brimming over that things are almost falling out of it. (As ever, all apologies to everyone who's written for that, but with one overloaded pair of hands running the whole o' the shop, it's invariably the case here that way too much remains to be desired.)

In the meantime, all continued mind-blown thanks for every last drop of feedback, prayers, support and kindnesses -- more than anything else, they keep the pages coming and keep me on my toes. As always, each of you lot, your intentions, loved ones and those you serve are much in mind and heart, and that'll especially be the case over the coming days.

And, well, since we're not actually in church, time to break rubric for the traditional send-up of the house's most-beloved of carols....

One week to go, folks -- God love ya along the way and ever beyond it.

PHOTO: James Lucas/Christ the Redeemer Church, Houston