Friday, December 26, 2014

The advent of Advent

The advent of Advent.  That’s what happened in my life this month.

I know, you’re thinking, “Emily, Advent is over--why are you blogging about it NOW?”

I’m talking about it now because this is the first time I’ve actually celebrated Advent… ever.  I am blogging about it now because I can look back on the last month in surprise.

Christmas has always been a happy time for me--at least a time when I wanted it to LOOK happy.  It’s quite a frenzy, trying to listen to all the music I want to hear, do the things I want to do, feel the feelings I want to feel.  And then on December 26th, I look back and wonder why I wasn’t as fulfilled as I should have been… wanted to be… and why I was left with a feeling of longing.  A feeling of "meh."

I decided to celebrate Advent because we were celebrating it as a church, not because I thought it could deal with those "meh" feelings.  I didn't know how to celebrate Advent, to be very honest with you.  Because of that, I ended up finding an Advent calendar template online and started filling it out on the first day of Advent in November.  You know those cardboard Advent calendars with the waxy chocolate inside?  You open up one door for every day and you’ve got a little treat inside!  This is the opposite of that.  Each day of Advent is blank… until you take some time out to pause and fill it in.

Every day I found a verse or a chapter in the Bible that talked about Jesus, or about the emotion surrounding the wait for Him prior to His advent into our lives.

Do you know what Advent and filling out that little calendar did for me?

It made me pause.  It made me reflect.  It gave me permission to feel everything I was trying to stuff down before.  My first entry was an entry of yearning, wanting more.  Why?  Because the world was waiting for its King and Savior.  And if the whole world felt yearning and waiting for more, I suppose it was OK for me to feel things like that, too.

Today is December 26th.  Yes, there were things I wanted to do this Christmas that I didn’t get done, and yes, I missed the traditions of Christmas past that I didn’t get to celebrate this year.  However…  I feel more fulfilled.  I’m not as nostalgic.  I’m ready to tackle 2015 head on, and meet some of the goals I talked about last week.

I’m grateful for Advent because I feel more like ME after Christmas.  And I’m looking forward to learning more new rhythms of Advent in 2015, as I wait for the ultimate advent of Jesus' return.


Patricia Krank said...

I've been thinking a lot about advent this year too and wondering what the heck it is! I've never been a part of a church that celebrated it but many blogger friends make a big deal of it. I've also never seen an advent calendar, or heard of writing your thoughts down each day. Just like Bible reading and journaling I can see how that would make you stop and really think about the Season and give you a different "feeling" toward Christmas.
Thanks for sharing your surprise Emily. It sounds like a worthy goal for next year's Christmas Season.

Jenni said...

This is beautiful. I have never heard of a blank fill-in-able Advent thing...I will look this up. Reflection is...something I don't always feel I can afford to do. I don't want to feel what waits under that lid. So, you are brave.