Dear Advent-preparing me:
You don’t have any intention of reinventing Advent – but you do need to breathe some life into the season around here.
I know, you’ve done wreaths, candles, Jesse trees, sung O Antiphons, hung O Antiphons, read scripture, colored calendars, you name it. You’ve got 20 years of Advent with kids under that belt and are searching for a fresh way to look at this seasonal gift called waiting.
I know you don’t want to revisit last year when you were later putting up the tree in acknowledgement of the “real” Christmas season. But it felt like Christmas passed you by. Everyone else was taking down their trees, and you were just getting started without the benefit of Christmas music on the radio or decorations at the stores. The hat-wearing bell ringers at Kroger had long turned in their red buckets, and you had pockets full of change.
You arrived at the party just as everyone was leaving.
You were left standing in the picked-over Christmas clearance section of Walmart.
(I could come up with many more to continue to distract me from the point of this letter to you, I mean me. Whatever.)
So, what do you think is the actual benefit of holding off to celebrate Christmas and actually embracing waiting? There’s certainly no real outward point to be proved. You were just there in your own little house trying to stick with the program laid out for by the church year – whether you liked it or not. (That sounds dramatically dreary. Which it wasn’t at all. It was a joyful season. Waiting included.)
So Advent-preparing me, I challenge you to this: Incorporate the joy of the upcoming season while meaningfully embracing the waiting of the soon-to-be-current season. Make it engaging for the littles and not overlooked by the bigs, and try to keep sane with both Advent and Christmas clutter.
P.S. Oh, and good luck with that.