Did you know that there is a tree inside each one of us? Looking more like an upside down tree it is the bronchial tree. As long as everything is working well with this life-giving tree, we are pretty much unaware of its presence. But let a little virus or bacteria come along to complicate things and we can become quite focused on our “tree within”. The branches (bronchi) deliver the air we need for energy and life to the cells and when they are swollen – well, we’ve got ourselves a “situation”.
I got to my brother’s house in Georgia for Thanksgiving two weeks ago and sat down to write a Thanksgiving blog. Words kept getting twisted up in my mind and nothing seemed to make sense so I put it aside to do later. At some point in the next 24 hours I realized that I was getting sick. It came on the heels of downsizing and moving. Enabled by stress and tiredness, the infection bloomed into acute bronchitis. The cartoon above is a pretty accurate picture of what our household has been like since I got back home a week ago today. Antibiotics, steroids, cough medicine, decongestants, expectorants, have all done their work and finally I am beginning to feel better. I think the “tree shaking” cough will remain for a while. For those who read this blog, I would suggest several things to keep your “tree” healthy: an extra dose of Vitamin C occasionally, wash your hands (a lot), stay away from people like me who are coughing, avoid stress, and take a nap. Sounds like a plan?
I missed the first Sunday of Advent. I love Advent. There is something quite mystical about this dark time of the year. These days leading up to the Winter Solstice are pregnant with anticipation. When I was in Ireland a few years ago we went to Newgrange to visit the 5000 year old Passage Tomb famous for its Winter Solstice illumination. The doorway and lightbox above the door were aligned with the position of the sun at the Winter Solstice. When the sun rose on this shortest day of the year it would shine into the box above the door so that the entire tomb was illuminated. In this way these ancient people would know that “the gods” had granted them another year of life. This was their sign that the sun’s light would continue to grow into long days for growing crops that would sustain their lives. Imagine the anticipation that preceded that day!
In much the same way Advent is our soul longing for that word from God that will sustain us. It seems quite practical that the early Christian church chose this time around the Winter Solstice to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Into the dark winter comes the Light which illuminates God’s love for us. This is the gift of life-giving Love that will sustain us in the midst of all darkness.