Advent is a time of waiting, but it doesn't have to be sedate

Maybe Advent is really a wild season, full of things we cannot control.
December 21, 2017

It is Advent, for a few more days anyway, and, I will confess that I haven't been feeling all that advent-y this year. For some reason or another. Perhaps it's the Texas weather, all sunshine and rain and no snow (except for that one extremely unusual Thursday evening.) I don't think that's it, though, because this is my third Advent in Texas, and I don't remember feeling this way the last two years.

Maybe it's the fact that Advent is so short this year. We light the fourth Advent Candle in the morning, and bam! by sundown it is Christmas Eve. I love a long Advent, with time to reflect over all of the candles, with time to think deep thoughts about wonder and waiting, making time and space for the coming Christ, who is also present.

There is this one small thing, though, every Sunday. Since Advent is for seeing in a different way, I decided on the first Sunday of Advent to wrap up a number of sunglasses and give them out to the children, and invite them to see differently this season. I am terrible at wrapping gifts. I will do almost anything to avoid it. But I got a roll of Christmas wrapping paper and wrapped up the sunglasses, and put them under the tree. (Don't judge me. Yes, our church Christmas tree is up before Christmas.)

That first Sunday I had the children look for the present under the tree, and a couple of them ran over and picked it up and brought it back, and we opened it together.

This description, though, does not do justice to the event: the children tore, ripped, clawed open the box, in their excitement. It was momentary pandemonium. (To their credit, they carefully put the wrapping paper pieces in a basket afterwards.)

I decided to wrap up a different present the two next weeks as well. A gift under the tree. The children opened it with great joy and wonder and haste. We could all feel their excitement, even if all the box contained was a play microphone. It didn't matter! There was something unknown in there and they wanted to find it!

They were impatient.

I know that Advent is a time of waiting, but sometimes it seems so sedate, and when I saw the children, I caught a glimpse of wildness, and I thought: maybe Advent is really a wild season, not a tame one. Maybe Advent is full of things we cannot control, and maybe the things we are waiting for are also wilder than we imagined. What if we were opening a box of peace on earth? What if the gift God offered us contained healing and hope for all the things that hurt our hearts, for all the things that endanger our world?

Would we be impatient too? Would we claw it open just to see what is inside?

For a few more days, it is Advent. For these next few days, Lord, let me not be sedate. Let me be impatient to know what is inside your love. Not just for me, but for this whole terrible and beautiful world.

Originally posted at Faith in Community