I started early this year. While I am usually a stickler for the liturgical year and save decorating, shopping, and festive music for the beginning of Advent proper, i got impatient. Or rather, i got that ‘need a little Christmas’ feeling in the wake of an ugly election cycle–as did we all–and i might have let some holiday cheer creep through my radio a full week before Thanksgiving. I might have done all my shopping (online) on black Friday. I might have put up my tree a full week before the Advent season actually began. Furthermore, i got out that creepy elf-on-a- whatever the day after thanksgiving… The error in foresight being that, 3+ weeks out from Christmas, I am already running out of creative places to hide it.
Now it is truly the season of anticipation, and i feel like i cheated by rushing the season. Having had my own little advent for the past week or so, I notice that I’m beginning the real season with a sense of ‘we’ve arrived,’ rather than with an appropriate degree of “we’ve got work to do.” So on this first day of Advent, on the real, liturgically-approved calender, I will remind us all–namely, myself–that we’ve got work to do.
My church held an Advent Labyrinth Walk event last night, and it was a timely, much-needed lesson: that which we await is not a destination; it is not a day on the calendar, and not a finish line. We’ve work to do, and time enough to do it. It is the work of waiting, watching, and hoping for something that is bigger than all our planning and dreaming; something that will come and transform us, our little lives, and the great big world.
There is still time to be surprised. All the better if my lights are out a bit early.
God of the winding path–forgive us when we step too quickly; when we move in our own time and not yours; when we focus on the end goal, rather than waiting for your quiet word along the trail. Center us in the present, and teach us what it means to hope in you. We wait with a hope that both moves and stills us. Shape us for the journey, and make a way within us for all that needs to be born again. Amen.