My gratitude for Advent has deepened over the years. I welcome the shorter days, and love the way the angled light of late November and early December makes everything look different. It seems to transform the world into a more promising place. Details are softer, colors pastel.
Coming as it does just after Thanksgiving with those magnificent hymns—“Now Thank We All Our God,” which theologian Robert McAfee Brown called the best all-purpose hymn in the book, and “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”—Advent begins, for me, in gratitude. And the Advent hymns have become for me the richest theologically and most satisfying aesthetically of the year.