the road is not long
the road is not long

It’s Friday!. Did you ever think this week was going to end. I know that most of you are reading this in the morning, but I usually write this stuff the night before and edit it early the next day…in the dark…on my porch overlooking El Camino Real…watching the world (and some times Jerry Rice) go by before leaving to teach ESL..A friend wrote on FaceBook that I had mistakenly written “Lent” instead of “Advent” on one of my posts. It happens. Sometimes I live in the future and long for Spring while in the depths of Winter. The tree outside my porch still has leaves on it so I guess we aren’t totally in real Winter yet but this morning it is 39 degrees, so it feels like it. I’m rambling now… It’s too bad that Susan Rice was forced out of the Secretary of State running even before she was nominated. What were those guys thinking? A woman, and a woman of color forced out by spurious accusations that have nothing to do with real life. I’m sorry that Obama didn’t just go for it and nominate her. He won the election and should have used his clout to make a stand.  She’s a good soldier who chose to put the country and it’s needs first by withdrawing her name from consideration for a job she is well qualified for. In her mind she felt that the hearings would be protracted, expensive and politically charged and she didn’t want to put the country through all that so that Fox could have it’s pundits jump all over her. As Nate Silver said today, “Punditry is fundamentally useless.” I kind of agree with him. Even this blog is full of opinion and very little journalism. Let’s keep the journalists and fire the pundits. Can I see a show of hands? Speaking of punditry and epiphanies…

Fun fact for the day – Advent is a period of “comings” you know, like something is coming better get ready, eddy. I am ready for the Mayan-end-of-everything, unless they come out with a new calendar before the fiscal cliff is cliffed. Then, of course, all bets are off and it’s time to go back to the grind on the 22nd of December which is a Sunday if you work on Sunday. Or maybe your family is a grind then Sunday is like any other day. Wish I knew what the weather was going to be on Sunday the 22nd. Hope the day lives up to it’s name and that the sun actually starts another day/grind thing. Anyway, I digress…in the early Church there were 4 different “coming” things all celebrated on the same day, January 6th. The feast was named “Epiphany” (a Greek word meaning “showing or manifestation”). It became a time, along with the Easter season for baptisms. The 4 different “comings” were, Jesus’ birth, the visit of the Magi, Jesus’ baptism by John, and the miracle at Cana all celebrated on 6 Jan. Soooo to distinguish this time from Lent, a period of fasting and sacrifice, the time up to January 6th was called “Advent” (from the Latin word meaning “coming.” (are you following me? There will be a test) to prepare for the baptisms on Epiphany. Over time all these feasts were separated and Advent was moved to the weeks before our present date of Christmas, December 25th, and changed the habit of fasting (like Lent) into a time of prayer and reflection. It became the beginning of the year so to speak. So there you have it in a nut shell…

The reading for today comes from Luke (Lk 3:5)

Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth…

Oh man, do we ever need this straightening and leveling now. It takes time. There’s a lot that goes into the building of a road. You have to figure out where the road is going (doh!). You have to take a bunch of time staking out the road so that you know where it starts and where it ends up and what it cuts through on the way. Then there’s permits. A bunch of those. Then you take in the cost of the road so you know if you can handle the finances. You have to grade the road and fill in those places that are low and build them up so that the road is somewhat level. Remove all the rocks in the way. If you live in California, the road’s footing must be eight to ten inches deep (this is way before the asphalt is put down). The job isn’t over yet, there must be people who know how to maintain the road after it’s finished. All of this sound familiar? Waiting (Advent) is like building that road. It takes planning. Since it really is the beginning of the year (Liturgical) time to make a list of things I want to get done or changed or even want and to think of it in terms of road making. There are enough metaphors above to keep us busy for a while. I’ll check back on your/my pre-Christmas road-planning sometime next week. Meanwhile, so you don’t get distracted from the real work of living turn off that noisy distraction called Fox News.

and so it goes…