Advent Starts in the Shadows

Lent is a spiritual housecleaning.

Advent? Advent is a spiritual housewarming.

We cozy up our homes, and our hearts, like a young one knitting something in a rocker late into the night, expecting something, someone, any day now.

Any day.

But it starts at night, and in the early morn. As the sun hides in these days and the shadows stick around longer, those who follow the church year ponder beginnings and endings by candle light, slowly adding to their number as the waiting intensifies.

Advent starts in the shadows because most of our waiting happens in the shadows, both literal and figurative, as we wrestle with difficult questions.

What does it mean to be another year older and missing those who have gone before?

What does it mean to wonder when we’ll see our last year?

What does it mean to wait for something new to happen…wondering if it will ever happen at all?

What does it mean to practice joy instead of happiness, peace instead of uneasy stalemates, hope instead of certainty?

What does it mean to be open to something new while missing what was?

This is the way of Advent. These are the angst days of joyful wrestling, prayerful pondering, and hopeful expectancy tinged with a good bit of refining doubt.

Christmas crooners croon away, and that’s all we’ll and good, but the true warbling in these days are the wonderful wonderings we wonder with Mary, pondering what newness lies ahead, and inside of us, this year. We cozy up our beings to welcome it.

Advent starts in the shadows of our “hopes and fears of all the years,” as the carol goes.

A beautiful, amazing, ponderful time. Embrace it.

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