Advent: week one

December 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

As some of you may know, I rather like Advent.

Last year, on an impulsive whim, I wrote a blog post for each day of the season, a spiritual practice that proved healing and expansive for me.

This year, I’m not so ambitious. Instead of writing about Advent every day, I’m reading about Advent every day, using the wonderful book Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.

May I suggest it to you? It’s chalk full of great writers like Thomas Merton and C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen and Madeleine L’Engle and so many many more. I’m only a day into the season, and I’m already smitten.

But despite my decision to read instead of write this go around, I can’t resist the urge to jot down a few minor thoughts about Advent, loving it as I do. So, here goes: a thought (or two) on Advent.

*

During Advent, people talk a lot about waiting. That’s because Advent, which means “arrival”, is the season in which the people of God wait for the arrival of God, both the celebration of His birth long ago and the promise of His return in the future.

We are all familiar with waiting. In fact, waiting makes up a good portion of our lives. We wait in traffic, wait at the doctor’s office, wait for emails, wait for packages, wait for dreams to come true.

Implicit in the idea of waiting is the belief that something is coming.

One doesn’t sit around waiting for someone who doesn’t exist to pop over for dinner. One doesn’t sit around waiting for rain in the desert. One doesn’t sit around waiting for money to grow on trees.

These things just aren’t going to happen.

But one does sit around waiting for a friend who promises to stop by after work. One does sit around waiting for the first snowflakes to flurry in Michigan. One does sit around waiting for the cherry blossom trees to bloom in spring.

These things will happen in a matter of time.

But what about God? Was God really born to a virgin in a manger? Was it really true when God promised He would come again? Should we wait for these things, or is that just so much insanity?

Part of me says it is. Part of me, the lonely part of me that has known God’s absence, the cynical part of me that knows promises are broken all the time, the hard part of me that says this is silly and can’t be true, those parts of me say it’s insane.

But another part of me, the peaceful part of me that’s been filled with God’s love, the hopeful part of me that knows God doesn’t make promises He doesn’t plan to keep, the warm part of me that’s moved by the idea of God making His way to Earth, those parts of me say, okay, I’m ready, I’m waiting. I may not understand it fully, but God’s mysterious and ineffable – it would be trite if I did.

So, how is this waiting thing going to go?

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