In spite of my best intentions, somewhere around Halloween my ability to stay on top of things begins to unravel. It gets more and more difficult to wake up before the sun and harder to meet all the demands of each day, or even of the previous day. As things left undone accumulate and the hours of daylight diminish, a kind of lethargy sets in. I can feel it seep into the lives of everyone in my household, making it hard to start preparing homework or grade papers or cook a healthy meal. Even our cats seem to feel it, preferring to remain curled up on the couch like little cat doughnuts rather than bounding to the door to greet us.
So when the first candle is lit and the voices of Advent sing out across the church—Wake up! It’s time to begin again!—it feels like the most graceful invitation I have ever heard.