Here it is, December 19th. You might be thinking “Yikes! Only five more days until Christmas!” Then again, maybe you’re thinking what I’m thinking: “Rats! Only five more days left in Advent.”
I love this season, much as I love the season of Lent. Both of these times are opportunities to step back, evaluate, contemplate, and assess where we’re at on the spiritual journey. It’s an excuse, if you will, to simply take the time to be. Celebration lies ahead; here is the chance for quiet preparation.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the celebration. But I’ve come to love the journey perhaps just a little bit more. (That doesn’t go for long plane rides and car trips, however.) These last days of Advent are especially rich—voluptuous, one might say—as we pray the O antiphons each day. Come, O wisdom!—O flower of Jesse’s stem, O radiant dawn, O king of all the nations, and finally, simply, Emmanuel! I am lost in the poetry and imagery.
Advent is great: no gifts to buy, no decorations to pull out and put up, no marathon wrapping sessions, no pressure to get everything done in time for one special day. The only real agenda is to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus, long ago: that I can work at and enjoy.
In the deep sapphire blue that marks the early mornings and evenings of this season, there is the hope and expectation of light through the darkness: the first star of night and the emerging dawn. These two signs mark the promise of Christmas, that Jesus’ birth brings true light and love into the dark places of our world.
I am happy to wait.
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