The Extraordinary Thing is Coming…

“The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin b​ows are poised. The conductor has raised the baton.

In the silence of a midwinter dusk there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen.

You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart.

The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell. The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move. Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance in the air, and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor.

But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of yourself somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath.”

 -Frederick Buechner  “Advent”

Yes.  This is what I am trying to convey in my own clumsy way. Advent is not something that belongs only to certain strains of the Church. Advent is not some ritual which aims at adding burden to our lives.

Advent is the opportunity to concentrate. The opportunity to change our focus, and we need this all the more in the midst of a season that screams at us constantly. The Christmas season has become so filled with noise, we need the reason and the opportunity…and the push…to be silent more.

We need the tradition and the ritual and the rhythm of Advent to bring wonder into our midst and to teach us to sit with that wonder.

God made flesh.

Incarnation.

Redemption.

I know that I am spending much time leading up to Advent pestering you about this tradition. No, I have not forgotten Thanksgiving, and I promise I will pause the Advent pestering to spend some time thinking about Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing, though…Advent takes preparation. I have so often been caught by surprise that Advent is beginning, that I enter the season feeling flustered. Or worse, I simply decide I have failed and it’s not worth trying to jump in.

So I pester.  Advent begins this Sunday.

You may not want to make a big deal of Advent, but I encourage you to take a look around at some of the resources that would help at least get your toes wet. Again, The Village Church has an excellent Advent Guide which will have sermons connected and even a Spotify playlist of music to go along. They have done a great job of including ideas for ways to bring your kids into the understanding of Advent.

Tomorrow I’ll post mainly resources and links. For now, read again Buechner’s words above and begin preparing your heart.

The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

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One thought on “The Extraordinary Thing is Coming…

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