Greater Than

Liturgical correctness aside, I can’t stop myself from lighting ALL the candles, though it is only the first week of Advent. It’s just so pretty…

It is no-screen Sunday, and I am tired. Nevertheless, I cannot let the evening pass without wishing the Interwebs a most happy and blessed beginning to Advent. The first, brave purple taper shines!

All in all, a good day at the Boggs household. Not perfect, mind you. Twas packed with church and chores and tree-twirling – a bit more clockwise, no, counterclockwise! – and, I’m afraid, more un-merry exchanges than I care to confess.

Don’t you get tired of telling me what to do? 

Yes, I do – I wish you’d think of things yourself. 

Nice, huh?

Daughter Margaret was on hand to mediate. Do you both have something you want to say?



Sap on his hands, snark in his soul.

When all was said and done, the family sat down to supper, still intact. Maggie set a match to all the Advent wreath’s candles – aesthetics trump liturgical tradition at my house. I watched from across the length of the table Luke clear his throat to read, the afternoon’s grocery list still folded in his shirt pocket – oranges and fresh sage and canned tomatoes scratched clean through.

He shops. He is the best of men, really. He cracked open the book he’d been holding on his lap.

“We are all searching, and ultimately – whether we know it our not – we are searching for God. Ultimately, we are searching for the Ultimate, and the Ultimate is God… Almost a thousand years ago, St. Anselm of Canterbury said, ‘God is greater than which cannot be thought.” Think about it. We can stretch our minds as high and deep and far as our minds can stretch, and at the point of the highest, deepest, farthest stretches of our minds, we have not ‘thought’ God. There is always a thought beyond what we are able to think. ‘God is that greater than which cannot be thought.’ ~ Richard John Neuhaus, from God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.

“Do it again!” I blurted. Then quieter, “That last bit, please.”

The spouse smiled and obliged me before venturing further into Neuhaus’ wonderful words,

“God is, quite literally, inconceivable. And that is why God was conceived as a human being in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Because we cannot, even in thought, rise up to God, God stooped down to us in Jesus,, who is ‘Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God with us.’ As we are searching for God, the good news is that God is searching for us. Better yet, he has found us. The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God. God is not lost. We were, or, as the case may be, we are.”

And so we are, lost. I think we displayed that handily in our peevishness and fussing. Over the angle of a Fraser fir and whether we had room in the freezer for peppermint ice cream! But the sun goes down, and we dim the lights and fill our stomachs and, thanks be, look to that greater than which cannot be thought.



  1. You know what I admire about you Laura beyond your splendid writing? Your “realness.” Your last two posts have so resonated with me. Thank you for not sugar coating you and your families way of dealing with the most sugary season of the year in your witty but direct way. I struggle because I want to emulate the patient serene way we are taught to approach this season but oft times I fall short and am more Grinch than Grace. Not berating myself..just being real.

  2. I love, love, love that you light all the candles! Not growing up liturgical, I love candles but we don’t do Advent! Thanks for your honesty.

  3. “…snark in his soul.” HA! I’m dying!!!

    We talked so long over our devotions that I cannot fathom our first taper (which is burgundy, as I waited too long, and it was all I could find) lasting more than a week! It was wonderful though….

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