It’s a good thing no one ever needs what I knit.
Sixteen years ago this past February, I hopped on a plane from Chicago to London. Those were the days of $250 round trip flights. I booked last minute so it was truly a steal and a blessing–I was going to surprise my grandmother for her 80th birthday. Only one person knew…one of my uncles who would pick me up from the airport and take me to my other grandmother’s house to stay the weekend. That’s right, a weekend. I got there on a Friday morning and left the following Monday…like a celebrity.
I’d knitted a very long and wide tan-ish scarf, perfect for Chicago winter winds. While the color wasn’t amazing, the look was and I wore it well. And then my grandmother saw it, the one whose house I stayed in.
My grandmother and my mother taught me to knit when I was a teen. They both knit properly, fingers flying. Granny’s eyes were still good and when she saw my scarf, she also saw my mistakes–on the scarf, that is, not within my soul. Though art does mirror life. She held it up and gave me a look that said, “Didn’t you want to fix this?” to which I definitely said an internal, “Nope.”
I’m currently knitting a blanket. Some of this yarn, I purchased while pregnant with my youngest. It was supposed to become a baby blanket like the one I’d knitted for her older sister. She’s 3 and a half now. It ain’t happening. I could have given the yarn away since it’s been sitting for so long, a quarter of the blanket completed, but it wasn’t cheap. So, I’m knitting a blanket for me.
Before you wag your finger at me because, “You know, Michaela, you could still give your child the blanket,” please know that she has plenty and she doesn’t use most of them. Plus, I need my own, one that can sit in my room on my couch and, hopefully, not get lost in the toy rubble of the living room.
For any newbie knitters out there, I don’t recommend standing to knit. I did that tonight even though I knew it was a bad idea then spent too much time de-stiching (or whatever the proper term is) in order to fix dropped stitches. And in the process, I saw other spots that I’m definitely not returning to.
I could never give this away. This blanket will remain with me as it reflects my soul.
I don’t knit because I have to. I knit because I want to, because keeping my hands active during meetings helps me focus and because I love creating and completing.
No one needs this. No one is placing orders and that’s good. No one’s sense of worth relies on my scarves or my fingerless mittens. I don’t knit to impress. I don’t knit to sustain.
What does this have to do with Advent?
The haphazard and somewhat careless nature of my knitting life is a clear contrast to the baby in the manger and helps me realize that sometimes I treat the coming of Jesus like a side hobby he decided to try on for a season, a last minute performance.
Places, everyone! Where are the shepherds?? Shepherds!! Oh, there you are. Quickly, quickly. Your dress is backwards! I know, it’s not a dress…I dunno what it’s called. Just please turn it around.
Okay, from the top. Angels, are you ready? No? What’s wrong? What do you mean, “What are my lines?” We’ve been rehearsing since July. How do you not… Ah ok. Just a temporary memory lapse. That’s alright. remember to watch Mrs. Evans in the front row if you need cues.
Oh boy. Baby Jesus is crying. Do we have a bottle for Jesus? A pacifier? No? He’s tired? That’s right. She. She’s tired? Can we rock her? You’re afraid to hold her. Where’s her mom? Here, let me see if I’ve still got it. Ah yes. Hi sweet girl. Yes, I know. I’m not your mommy but she’ll be right back, okay. Do you think you can just chill for a bit until then? Yeah, we need to start this rehearsa….
Oh no. No No No NO No NOOOOO! I said it would be nice to have real sheep but…the carpet! (exhale). Yes, get the deacons. Sorry deacons. I know, you just had a carpet cleaner in on Monday. So sorry. Thank you. Right, it’s for the Lord.
But is it? Or is this all for us so that we can momentarily escape the holes in our scarves and blankets and create a picture of birth and celebration that has 46 and 5 million warm fuzzies and takes us back to a time when it seems the entire earth stood still.
It didn’t. Making it an even bigger deal that God became man. No standing ovation. Sure, the angels sang but they’re supposed to. All of Bethlehem didn’t get together for a city-wide potluck to welcome the king. This wasn’t a performance. This wasn’t option 5. This was it and the earth kept on turning and not everyone heard the Gloria.
A night full of so many ordinary things had so much that was extraordinary. And we still need that extraordinary, that perfect Messiah.