Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I haven't been blogging through Advent for a very good reason: I've been observing Advent.

I haven't been blogging through Advent for some bad reasons too, but since they are the usual, boring, sinful reasons (sloth, etc.), I'll let them lie.

But Advent! This has been a good Advent. It's been a hard Advent.

For the first time since the twins were born, it looks like Advent around here. We're doing an Advent wreath and a Jesse tree, and the devotions to go with. The children are all really learning the Christmas story and the history that preceded Christ's coming. (It comes out in their play. There were two Marys and one Elizabeth wandering up and down the stairs this morning, and at least a couple death threats from King Herod towards the camel.)

And I've been reading Revelation and Isaiah and the gospels and the psalms, and it's sinking into my heart.

I've been praying, and thinking about prayer. I don't know if I've got much worth saying about it yet, but I've been remembering my impression as a new wife (very new - it was an impression formed during my honeymoon) that the most important part of my role as a wife and mother would be to pray for my family.

I've been reading and listening to Dallas Willard, and praying and thinking about prayer some more.

I've been fighting what's starting to look like a seasonal depression, and beginning to understand (I think) why it's happening. I don't think it's about light. I think, three years ago, when I thought half of my family was going to die*, my body got used to fighting despair around this time of year, and I haven't kicked the habit of battening down all the hatches after All Saints' Day and not coming out till after the New Year. Can a body form a seasonal habit of depression based on one truly, truly stressful experience?** It surely feels like it. I feel like a wuss just saying it, but there it is. My journal entries from this time of year this year are almost identical to the ones the year before; I'm not imagining it.

And I was just about to type, "this experience hasn't been altogether awful", but I realized that that's not true; experientially, it has been. But I have hope that it might turn into something not awful, especially if I can learn to turn towards help instead of away when I feel weak and worthless.

And I've thought a lot about Christ coming into our dark world. There's a version of "The Carol of the Bells" done by the TransSiberian Orchestra that makes you think, "Christmas: the Action Movie", what with all the electric guitar and wild, wailing chords. But that just makes me think of "The Dream of the Rood"'s vision of "the young hero, Christ" who stepped onto the cross (willingly, of his own accord), and how Advent is really that: the story of the hero, choosing the adventure, the tragedy even, for the sake of those he loved. 

(And just like Lent: you can't keep the secret: it's not a tragedy, it's a eucatastrophe, it's all turned around, from the inside out, and the worst thing becomes the best thing, and he wins and it's  a victory and it's all brilliantly, brilliantly redeemed - and so instead of dirges this season, we sing carols, because he's come not just to die, but to rise, and better yet, to go and then to come back and to take us with him. To make us like him. And if you know him at all, well, then you know what good news that is.)

He's with us. And he was with us. Here, in this darkness, in this bleak midwinter. To quote Stephen Lawhead, He knows.

So. That is what I have. There's so much more I've been thinking about, but it feels like a season to take things in, and not to spew it all out in writing, because everything inside me needs to sit for awhile, and settle. But I can't help saying: He came. He is good. I'm so glad. 

May you all have a blessed and joyous Advent. 

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

*My twins had a serious, potentially fatal in-utero condition and my husband had cancer.

**Since writing this, I've found out that, actually, yes, it can. Apparently it's a pretty common reaction.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

on the deceptive ease of the internet age

 You know, I keep putting off these chores that "will just take a minute on the computer" and wondering why I put off things that seem so easy . . . but then I sit down and do them and find that "just a minute at the computer" is a wild underestimation and then I remember "ah, yes, this is why I put this off".
Anyway, CSA renewal? Done. Registering the eldest for next semester's local homeschool P. E. class? Done. Requesting books for the subjects of the next few weeks' history and science lessons? Done. Cleaning out my email box/responding to blogs in open tabs/bookmarking interesting sites? Never, never, never done.
Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Friday, December 3, 2010

Links! "Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism"

Gosh, combine two of my favorite things in the entertainment industry today - that'd be Doctor Who and The Craig Ferguson Show - and you get this awesome song. Which is awesome (minus weird sailor dude). (And from which we get the title of today's post.)

On a more serious note, Simcha Fisher's post about there being no petty virtues is really good.

It might be a bit late for me to do this this year, but I'm saving this idea for next year: Helping Siblings Christmas Shop for Each Other.

Also, just wanted to point everyone towards Quotidian Moments, because she's doing a cool series where she's going through the nonfiction she's accumulated on her bookshelf over the years, and posting notes on the high points of each book as she decides whether or not to keep it. It's interesting reading!

This snowflake craft is everything a Christmas craft should be: pretty, fun, and easy to clean up!

And speaking of Christmas crafts, here's a really impressive page full of them - and most of these look like they'd appeal to the 2-4 set, as well as school-age kids, which is a big bonus in my book.