A Poem to Kick Off Advent

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

~ Robert Hayden

What does this have to do with Advent you ask? Nothing directly, but I've fallen in love with that phrase, "love's austere and lonely offices," and it makes me think of the Holy Family and its travel exertions and of Christ's whole life, and of what parents do to make Christmas nice for their kids and extended family. Moreover, the poem itself reminds me of Pearl Buck's short story, Christmas Day in the Morning. So there! Have a successful Advent.