I wanted to write an article where I talked about how celebrating Advent slows down the busyness of the season. I wanted to believe that Advent is a way to put off Christmas until Christmas. In my mind, Advent is very peaceful and makes getting through December easier.
Advent is busier
But it’s not the truth. I’m busier during Advent. I just finished up my last two nursing classes in my bachelor’s degree program, and I still haven’t stopped doing things, because now I have to pick right back up where I left off in October when classes started. In addition, I am at church more. My daughter has Tae Kwon Do two evenings a week, and now with Advent services, we are gone from home three nights a week instead of two.
If Advent is supposed to be about peace and contemplation, why do I still feel so rushed?
Contemplation during Advent
I think Advent is still about contemplation. But it does not feel peaceful because Advent is not about contemplation at home. It’s about contemplation together as a church family. The mystery of the incarnation is so great and large, O magnum mysterium, the great mystery, that we need to contemplate it together. The story of the incarnation is so deeply woven throughout the Bible. It is not something we can honor and do justice towards thinking about in one evening on Christmas Eve. So we spend Advent thinking about God becoming flesh for us, and we let Pastor guide us through that process because he knows how, and these are the good gifts he has to give us as our pastor.
Our Gifts at Advent
The second reason for Advent is one I realized last night. We are there for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christmas time is a difficult time for many people because they remember past hurts or they miss loved ones who have gone home first. Advent evening service might be one fewer evening that they have to sit home and eat dinner alone. So, we are there to encourage, to bless, to thank God for the people God has given us through our church. That takes a bit of time and a bit of effort, and it doesn’t feel as relaxing as lying on the couch contemplating our next move in Words with Friends. But that’s the gift we have to give others.
In faith towards You and in fervent love toward one another. That’s Advent.
I really do love Advent. The hymns are amazing, the sanctuary looks so beautiful with the decorations, my home looks festive, and I love learning more about Emmanuel, God with us. But Advent is crazy. Life is busier, church is busier, and people tend to need a little more at this busy time of year.
So don’t worry if Advent doesn’t make you feel peaceful and relaxed. It’s not going to. It’s still one of the most beautiful times of the year.