Now that the semester here at LPTS is over, many students have departed for various elsewheres for the holidays, others are busy preparing for special Christmas services in various congregational settings, faculty are grading papers and exams and busily moving into new offices in the newly and beautifully renovated Schlegel Hall, and the pace of the campus has slowed noticeably . . . it seems timely to consider the meaning of Advent from the particular perspective of the Women’s Center.
One thought along these lines is, surely, that we hope we are not only waiting. As we wait and anticipate an end to violence against women in all its forms (including coerced intimacy, exclusion from resources, war . . .), and an end to every kind of gender-based violence, and the full flowering of a created humanity that lives its embodiment in various forms of difference, including sexual difference, with justice — as we wait for all that, we hope we are waiting in the productive way people wait when they are getting ready for what they are waiting for to happen.
But how is it that people wait in that way? Most readers have probably already heard about getting ready for parties and setting up nurseries at least once this Advent. Keeping in mind that how we talk and think about what we are doing affects what we are doing, we are also waiting for some new metaphors!
Ideally, these would be metaphors that work to remind us that Advent is a time of preparation as well as waiting, and that the practices we undertake in preparation shape us into particular kinds of people and communities. [This is what we have in mind when we at the Women’s Center talk about changing the paradigm of gender relations — that we want to be talking and thinking and acting in ways that shape us in the direction of justice when it comes to living as men and women, in all the ways we can do that.]
What about . . .
Peeling and chopping vegetables to add to the soup pot when it boils;
Knitting the hats and scarves the children will need when the temperature drops;
Reading the synopsis of the plot of the opera before the time comes to attend the performance;
Stretching out before the aerobics class begins;
Studying the textbook and the notes for the test;
Practicing songs or a musical instrument for a recital;
Rehearsing the steps of the dance with the troupe before you go on;
. . .
How are you waiting?