“O Come, O Come… (I guess)”

What does it really mean to pray the O Antiphons this Advent?

Advent means praying the O Antiphons – here’s set I really treasure. 

But it occurs to me that when we bid God to Come, in all of her manifestations (wisdom, child, lover, even unicorn), we had better prepare. As I pray, Come, O Wisdom, I feel like God is like, “Okay, here I come, but it’s gonna mean some change for you. You’re going to have to leave some things behind and pick up other things… It’s gonna be risky.” 

Dave Chappelle was commenting on his decision to leave a multi-milion dollar television deal back in 2012 on the David Letterman’s Netflix show. Letterman commented that this move seemed like a badass thing to do. Chappelle said that, in the moment, it did not feel badass in any way. It was stupid, but also like something he needed to do, because he couldn’t go on working the way he was working if it made him feel the way it did. So, he followed his gut and quit. The amount of fame and money he seemed to be abandoning left most people speechless. 

Simultaneously, Lin Manuel Miranda talked on Song Exploder about the Hamilton song “Wait for It,” which details the interior of Aaron Burr’s cautious, fearful mind. Burr, a “trust-fund baby,” stood to lose a lot by taking political risks. He was born into status and wealth, entrusted with a heritage to protect. In the show, this is in direct contrast to Hamilton. He, a scrappy upstart with no wealth, no privilege, no heritage – in other words, nothing to lose – he could take risks. They paid off, in Miranda’s eyes. Hamilton rises to establish a sophisticated banking system and always seems to be in, “the room where it happens.” The vexes Burr to the point of murder. 

Miranda himself reflected that at the time he wrote Hamilton, he was most like Hamilton – all scrap and energy and hunger. And now that he has won a Pulitzer, a billion Tonys, and accomplished more than most do in a lifetime, he feels more like Burr. Lots to lose. Lots to protect. 

So, where does this leave us this Advent 2020? (Besides with a clear vision of how much Netflix I watch?) To what are we still clinging? What would we do if we weren’t afraid? What do we have to lose? The unmooring of the pandemic, I hope, has illuminated the unnecessary things even while it illuminates the necessary things. 

For me, starting my blog and podcast was a big step in letting go. It’s still a struggle to put myself ‘out there’ for others to judge and potentially criticize. But also it’s been an enormous joy to connect with those who resonate with my experiences, as best as I can share them. And I know that I need to keep going. I will keep my ear close to the heart of God as I listen for next steps.

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