It’s Advent. A time of year I love and adore. (See blog archives for considerable evidence of this..) Advent pushes all my buttons. The waiting theme, the light in the dark, the anticipation of joy to come and the acknowledgement that all is not as it should be.
Christmas needs to be tempered with Advent. Christmas sparkles and longings for the perfect day need this season of realism. Of waiting for Jesus. Of looking around and remembering that even the best of this world is a mere shadow of all that will come.
Advent is so realistic. In the face of shiny media promising wonderful family filled times it is refreshing to have a season acknowledging that for most of us Christmas will not be that joyfully simple.
Christmas can be jarring, it is no respecter of grief or painful slow roads. Christmas as presented by garden centres and tv adverts doesn’t allow for frugal living or financial constraint. It promises much if you will only find the money or debt to fully dive into the madness.
Advent acknowledges the pain of life, the broken road we often walk down, the reality that we are waiting for something so much better. It is good to ache for a better world. We were made for one. We are waiting for one.
Advent reminds us that it is ok to sit by the side of the road in a broken heap and hear the angels sing again of wonders and joy to come. Jesus did come. He will come again. We live in-between. We live in the waiting.
I think Advent also reminds us that we have choices as to what our waiting will look like. We wake up each morning, we interact with the reality of the day, we love, we serve, we live and breathe, we go to sleep and in the simple ordinary of that a bigger story goes on behind the scenes. We are waiting but life goes on in that waiting. It’s a whole weird tension to live with.
At church on Sunday we looked at Psalms of wonder, which seemed a perfect set up for advent. We were encouraged to see the wonder all around us, to sit and notice, to be drawn away from our regrets of the past, to not dwell in worries about the future but to sit with the wonder in the now. To taste the presence of God in this moment we have right now.
I’m going to try and do that this Advent time. I want to find the wonder in the waiting. To end the year in wonder seems like a Good Thing. It’s been an insane year of exhaustion and brokenness but it has also contained much wonder. I want to choose the wonder through the tears of life this month. Not in some weird denial of pain but in the knowledge that there is a deeper reality that brings hope in the pain, in the waiting there can be joy and I want to find it.
So that’s what you can expect from these parts this year. I haven’t done a everyday Advent blog since having small children. But let’s see how it goes. I would love to hear your stories of wonder. Not so we compete in who has the best lives but so we can share the wonder out. Some days I imagine the wonder will purely be in the morning cup of coffee. It will still be there though. Saying it aloud might just help with joy along this broken weary road of life.
Come with me. Let’s see if we can hear the angels sing this advent time.