Advent is our time of waiting. We wait in line at the store. We wait for cookies to be done baking. We wait for family gatherings. We wait for vacation to come. Teachers really wait for vacation to come! 🙂 We wait to open presents. We wait as one candle, two candles, three, and four are lit around the Advent wreath. We wait for the coming of the Christ child.
Putting up Christmas lights is the perfect metaphor for the time of waiting in Advent. It doesn’t happen quickly, it can’t be rushed, and if you try to rush, the lights become a big tangled mess and/or don’t look quite right. It’s the same with all that Advent entails. The more we rush, the bigger the tangled mess we seem to end up in. That is the beauty of the message of Advent–it is a time to gather the pieces one by one, getting ready step by step. The irony of the time of Advent, though, is most people DO rush. The feeling starts the day after Thanksgiving where we rush out to the stores well before dawn to get the best deal or price on that special item. Then there always seems to be so much to do with decorating, baking, buying, and wrapping that the to-do list gets longer and longer as we try to multi-task. Our calendars become full of parties and gatherings, all which are fun and festive but fill in the places where we once perhaps had a moment of down time to sit back and rest.
And yet, there are times when we don’t rush. One person told me about sitting in the living room at the end of the night, a glass of wine in hand, Christmas music softly playing in the background, and the overhead lights turned out as the tree softly lights the room with color. A look of peace and serenity came over his face as he told me about this evening ritual. There are also times when we can’t rush. I had a few friends this December give birth. Their families have been waiting for 9 months in anticipation of the addition to their family. But no matter how much they have prepared and how ready they are, that baby only came when it was good and ready. No sooner, no later. The baby room was ready, diapers were stacked, and clothes folded but that didn’t rush the baby.
Soon, very soon, we will welcome our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born to save a broken and fallen world. The waiting will soon be over and hopefully you will have some time to un-rush yourself. May this be a time of celebration and joyous occasions as you hold dear the gift given to us by God because P.S. there’s more to celebrate each day we live.