Oh Advent, how I love you. It has not always been this way. I have come to love you. Your voice is so gentle and, yet, abrasive as well. All in all you are a voice among all the many voices of this season that brings by heart joy and peace.
When I was child, Advent was an obligation. Dragged by my parents to Wednesday evening service, I endured. I did not fully understand the season as much as understood the Sears Wish Book that had pages dogeared to the dozens of items that I had to mention to Santa at the local hardware store.
Even when I was older and was able to understand Advent’s meaning and purpose, the sirens of pre-Christmas stole my attention. The joy of giving and receiving lured me to themselves like fireflies to lights in the darkness. Oh, I still wanted, desired for “things”. But I also, as a result of having the means, had acquired the joy of giving the gift that brought a smile to her face and screams of joy from the little ones. Advent was a time to shop and prepare for the big morning.
But now I am even older, the children are also older; the accumulation of things is waning. Fortunate for me, you have not left me. You have remained true like the steadfast love of God. You sit waiting for my return. I thank you.
This is not a bah-humbug address. I understand where people are in their lives. As for me I long for my Advent. I drive around in my car with Alexa playing my playlist of Taize chants. I am swooned by the beauty of God’s promise of old and promise of today. Anxiety and fear melt in your presence. Oh, but John the Baptist, does remind me of my need to recognize my sin, that ugly disease where I try to run things on my own. Oh, and Mary’s Magnificat, sings sweet songs of upheaval and anarchy when the Kingdom of God rains havoc upon humanities and world orders. From this turmoil within and disruptions surrounding me comes a new peace within and new world order in due time.
Oh, Advent, your liturgical color was purple for repentance in my youth and blue for joy in my adult years. While I might be color blind, I am not blind to both themes. In preparing for God’s arrival I recognize my shortcomings, oh heck, my total need and dependence upon you. You do not leave me in despair. Your forgiveness is as sweet as honey on my tongue.
Yes, it is Advent and my soul is hungry for God’s presence and forgiveness. Come, Lord Jesus, and give me your promise of hope. Your love is not a gift that I can buy nor can I give. I may receive it and share it and proclaim beauty to the world.