I’m ashamed to admit that I understand how the Grinch feels. I have always loved Advent and Christmas, but with each passing year, the season seems to be getting only more and more hectic. We feel the need to squeeze in a year’s worth of parties, concerts, and meetings in the 24 days before Christmas. We get overwhelmed, and we have no time to consider the true spirit of this special season. I feel myself wanting to hide away in a cave and not come out until December 26!
Advent is the season of expectant waiting for the coming of the Christ Child. We are to prepare ourselves to encounter the divine mystery of God being born into the world as a human child. It is a season of longing, when we are confronted with the brokenness of the world and our deep desire for the hope of Jesus Christ. God being born into the world, fully divine and fully human, is an intriguing mystery that is difficult to wrap our heads around. Advent, then is a time of reflection, of prayer, of expectation. All of the partiies and responsibilities (shopping, baking, wrapping!) are fun, but we often find we have little energy left for anything else. We go through the motions, rather than taking time to consider what it’s all about. I would prefer that we would slow down during Advent; that we would take time to rest, reflect, converse, sing and simple “be”. We would make time to talk about important matters with our families, friends, and neighbors. We could visit those folks who are alone and feeling hopeless. We could wander in the natural world to observe the stars and the wonders all around us. Rather than racing to the end goal - December 25 - we might take our time and savor the journey.
Perhaps there are some way you might push aside some of the duties and expectations of this busy season. Perhaps you might make time to seek new ways of being. Regardless of how we choose to spend our days, we trust that the miracle of the season will be revealed to us. As we all stumble along in the chaos of this world towards the loving arms of God, I pray that we hold fast to the hope of God being born into a messy world and the hope of God being born in our hearts each and every day. Advent and Christmas blessings to you all!