Day two of Advent!
It is there, just below the surface…that little tiny bit of flame that is beginning to burn. That slight tingle in my soul. The smile that creeps up unexpectedly.
Day two. We still have 23 more days…and the beginning working of mystery is happening.
Last night driving home Maddie was on the look out for Christmas lights. Shouts of delight when she spotted some. They are not everywhere yet, and that is good…we have to hunt for them a bit.
The house is not fully decorated yet, but there is anticipation as each new decoration or light is added. My mother always said that our house came alive during the Christmas season. Everything has a shine of mystery and delight.
I know…not everything.
I know that we have an ache within us as well. I have friends who simply do not enjoy Christmas at all. And they have valid reasons to want to skip ahead to December 26th. There are those who struggle with mourning in this season, and I think of friends this year who have just lost parents. Others who have tragically lost friends and family through accidents and fires and sickness.
The mystery is not so shiny bright for them. The pain is deeper and clouds the mystery. There is so much to say about that, and as we move through Advent that will be one of the themes: Our pain and our restlessness are a vital aspect of Advent. If we were well and healthy and without need, Advent would be a fun story and a delightful season, and little else.
The reality that we are broken and rebellious and in need…that reality casts Advent in the correct light. We desperately need a savior, and the reality of the stunning way God came to us shouts that everything has changed. Let the decorations and the twinkling lights and the songs stir our hearts. Even in our pain…we have to look and see that there is healing.
So, wherever we are in this second day of Advent…let the mystery strike. In our pain, let the whisper of hope settle in our soul. In our loneliness, let the reality of God with Us settle in our soul. In our fear, let the coming of God to rescue us settle in our soul. In our delight, let the wonder of the Incarnation overwhelm our soul.
Like Maddie on the hunt for Christmas lights as we drive…I want to be on the hunt for mystery this season. I want to pause and anticipate the arrival of the coming King. We are not trained in our culture to wait and to lean in to something that takes patience and discipline. We are not taught to seek mystery.
Let’s change that some this season. Pray. Listen. Look. Anticipate, and feel that stir within our souls.
“The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery. They are not yet finished with this world; they still don’t know how to struggle along and avoid the mystery, as we do. We destroy the mystery because we sense that here we reach the boundary of our being, because we want to be lord over everything and have it at our disposal, and that’s just what we cannot do with the mystery…. Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.