Sunday, December 3, 2017

Advent Thoughts...

I'm told that Advent is a season of waiting, of preparation for the arrival of Jesus, the long awaited King.  I'm what could be considered "an early celebrator", I love traditions, special decorations, the smell of pine or fir trees and making memories.  We decorated the house in early November just because we needed a little festivity.  The last year has not been an easy one.  We really don't have much to complain about at all but things feel heavy and hard and disappointing these days in the world outside our front door.  So many people hurting, so many people sick, so many people who haven't turned out to be who we thought they were. 

Honestly, I struggled with the idea of being celebratory this year because it felt callous when we think about the atrocities going on around the world and right here in the U.S. One of my favorite authors, Sarah Bessey wrote, "Here's the thing about Advent:  we celebrate because we are paying attention.  It's precisely because everything hurts that we prepare for advent now." We decorated early because I can't control things out there but I can make a difference in my home.  That's also the reason we are going big on Advent this year.  Previously, we did the little chocolate calendar and lit the candles when we remembered and could spare the time to gather around the wreath.  I'm determined that this year is going to be different.  This year, we are going to find meaning in each day leading up to Christmas.  I want this holiday to be remembered.  Not for the presents under the tree but for our presence with each other, with our friends and with our family. 

Tonight's candle is the Hope candle.  In a time where so much seems broken, when so many are hurting and disillusioned, Advent gives us the chance to acknowledge and accept the hurt for the reality that it currently is while knowing that this isn't the end.  Glennon Doyle says, "First the pain, then the rising".  There is work to be done in our families and in our communities.  People are in need, people are lonely and we can do something about it.  We have hope not because we don't see, experience and admit the reality of our current world but because we see, we acknowledge and we know that there is Love, Peace and Joy on the way.

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