Advent, then Christmas
A comment on my post yesterday got me to thinking. I observe Advent - the figurative time of waiting for the coming of the Christ Child that begins four Sundays before Christmas Day. It's an old tradition, one of preparation, of anticipation, of longing. Yet, like most North Americans (Canadians and US citizens), I have called this season Christmas, from the first of Advent to New Year's and Epiphany. I'm going to change that, at least in my own mind.
In our western culture, we tend to avoid waiting for anything, wanting instant gratification, instant joy. "Why wait? Do it now" is an advertisement I used to hear. But as I read in a beautiful blog post by Sarah Bessey yesterday, "Advent is for the ones who know longing."
As I observe Advent, I wait for the time of celebration to come. I wait in the physical here and now, knowing that on Christmas Day there will be feasting and joy, gifts and light as I delight in the observance of Christ's arrival to the dark world. I also wait symbolically, knowing that this world is often a dark place, full of sorrow, pain and suffering, a world which needs the light and salvation promised by Christ's birth. I wait in a future sense, knowing that one day, some day, all things will be made right.
Friko commented on yesterday's post, "...I come from the land of a long run-up to Christmas, a long festive and contemplative period."
Christmas joy is coming. It's just around the corner. I can wait. I can contemplate. And so, it's beginning to look a lot like Advent around here. Angels line the mantel, ready to trumpet the good news.