Yesterday we went out for Small Business Saturday. We bought the last few things on our lists (except, it must be admitted, packing tape for mailing the boxes) at some of the downtown shops: Savoy Tea Company, The Mustache, Riffraff, French Quarters, and Fox Trot.

This was definitely the new hipster Fayetteville rather than the old hippie Fayetteville, with a strong dash of the New South thrown in.

We had fun.

We had lunch at Wood|Stone, a new craft pizza place, where we enjoyed pizza with pear jam and arugula. Then we went home and had some turkey soup, because my husband had made it, followed by an afternoon of Munchkin and spades. #1 daughter and #1 son headed to their own homes and #2 daughter and I had mushroom ravioli, leftover wine, and White Christmas on Netflix.

This is the first day of Advent, but I think I will not be going to church, since #2 daughter will be heading out around noon. Today’s song is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” one of the most iconic Advent hymns. The tune is from the 15th century, if not earlier, and the words are a translation of the ancient Latin “O antiphons,” which were sung before Christmas in the early church.  The English words have been associated with this tune since the middle of the 19th century.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny ;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home ;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Adonai, Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

We’re singing this in church today, though I may not be there for the occasion.

Advent is important. Our modern Christmas tends to be stressed and rushed, so that by the time the presents are unwrapped it is a relief for many people to be done with it. They’re doing it wrong. We need to take time to prepare our hearts for the mystery of Christmas.

With that said, I’m heading into Advent with a bit of stress. I had more meetings, appointments, and stuff than I can easily tolerate all through the month of November and the coming week is equally filled with stuff, including two parties, two meetings, two rehearsals, and a concert.

These are all good things, but they add up to too much for me… or perhaps I have gotten accustomed to this level of activity and will be just fine. Either way, it’s a good reminder that Advent offers us a quiet space for contemplation during a busy time.

Last week was a holiday week, and I took some time off. This is good. I’m surprised that our shopping didn’t rack up more steps than it did, but there was some fresh air and movement involved.

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