It is the day before Advent begins. Honestly…even with the few posts lately leading up to this…I am feeling that scattered, frustrated sense of not being ready.
The intentions are always, always good. The interruptions are always, always present. The list of things to do in the holiday season always, yes always, seems to long and to hectic.
We have appointments today, meetings tomorrow and Friday we drive to Cincinnati for a hockey tournament. Thus begins Advent season in our household. Plus, the dishes were not finished last night, the laundry is piling up…and the kids are hungry.
Do you feel that as well? That slightly anxious feeling building, telling you that you will not be able to pull of this Advent nonsense? You’ll be lucky to get the presents purchased and wrapped and the tree decorated. Hopefully all the decorations will be up before Christmas actually comes knocking on the door. Oh, and of course you need to find some way to give outside of your family this year…someone to help, some organization to encourage. Yes. Shoot, that should have been the priority, right?
Ugh…it’s closing in a bit, isn’t it?
This morning I read Ann Voskamp’s blog about Advent, about the amazing preparations in her household for the Night before Advent. The box and the lights and the hot chocolate.
And I felt miserable.
And then I felt foolish for feeling miserable. But, honestly, I thought: “Hmm, where in my house tonight could I set up something so peaceful and beautiful and wonder-filled?” Then I remembered that tonight is Wednesday night, a notoriously rushed and busy night in our household as the boys finish up assignments for tutorial tomorrow.
Still with me? Already feeling overwhelmed and Advent has not even begun?
Guess what? We’re right where we should be.
I spent part of the morning reading Bana Alabed’s tweets from Aleppo. That feeling of being miserable abated. I thought of the folks in Gatlinburg, TN and around the country who have lost everything to fires over the last few days.
And here is why I say we are right where we should be:
We need Someone beyond ourselves to help. We need God. We need salvation and comfort and peace…and we cannot muster it up within ourselves
And that is the entire point of Advent, as Voskamp points out so well…
Oh my soul needed to hear that this morning. Even with all the reading I am currently doing about Advent, all the poems I have read and all the thoughts I have gathered…I need to hear the whisper: “It’s coming.”
God has seen us in our anxiety and our frustration and our fears alongside our hopes an wonder and loves. He has seen us and He has come. We need this season to remind us. We need the patience of Advent to walk slowly toward the birth of the Savior so we can hear that whisper twenty-four times:
The hope, the restoration, the healing, the peace…it is coming. It will probably not look like what we expect. A babe in a manger? Not expected. But it is coming.
So stick with me. Find some room on the couch tonight and think about Advent. Figure out a way to incorporate it into the next twenty-four days. Figure out a way to turn the family’s attention away from wish lists for stuff, and toward a patient waiting for the reality of God With Us. Go to Ann’s blog, seriously…she has amazing resources to help us this Advent season. You can even print some things off right now to have ready for tomorrow.
We can do this. Take a deep breath and don’t worry about the fact that the Advent Calendar is still stuck in some box of Christmas stuff. Light a candle and drink some hot chocolate…even if it is in the midst of dishes and and laundry.
Pause. And reflect. And be aware of that deep need we all have for the coming of the One who can bring the healing and the peace we so desperately crave.