Yesterday marked the second week of Advent. I feel like September through mid November dragged and now my life is flying by! I’ve been working hard to stay present and in the moment and even without a huge life change on the horizon, I know a lot of people strive for that this time of year.
The liturgical calendar gives us a name for this time and as I get older I find Advent more and more comforting. The chance to simply be in the waiting, to allow ourselves to anticipate the coming of Christmas, it’s a beautiful thing.
Advent is not a countdown, it’s a season unto itself and it can feel dark and scary at times because the world feels dark and scary at times. I feel less alone when I hear the readings in the lectionary, that there are so many others across so many years that have not known what’s ahead but forge on anyway. This is faith to me, to believe that there is light in the darkness and to try to cultivate it within myself and Advent, especially in a year ahead with so many unknowns, helps me focus on that light.
This year our celebration of Advent is fairly simple and completely imperfect. We are reading this book together as a family every night, Anticipating His Arrival, that I picked up in our church bookstore. It has the readings for all three church years as well as discussion questions. We are also reading A Christmas Carol, one of my all time favorite books. It is so perfect, and even if you think you know the story I promise it’s worth a reread. We have just made it through the first stave (the first spirit is about to arrive!) and so far the big kids seem to be enjoying it! Obviously some goes over their heads, but they pick up a lot of Dickens’ jokes and imagery and I hope it becomes something we do together every year.
Besides this we are trying to find fun things to do together as a family and with friends and celebrate this time of year in the home that we’ve made and loved in this city that we will soon be leaving. It’s all a little bittersweet, but honestly I feel like that suits Advent more than anything. I hope this season is meaningful to you as well and that wherever your life is at the moment that you can focus on the light in the darkness.