At the beginning of December, I wrapped Advent gifts for my sons—books and a Christmas movie, something they could enjoy along the well-trodden path to Christmas Day.
I’ve been asking myself, as I do every year, what exactly Advent means for us.
But this time, things are different. Living in a new city makes me different, living in a new season of work and family makes me expectant of all future mysteries, and so, Advent has appeared to me in a new light.
Just as Christ appeared then, in the manger beneath the star-glow, bringing something altogether new to the world, so Advent sneaks up behind and asks something new of me.
So I went seeking, wondering what it might be.
With buzzing fingers and begging heart I sought, and I found buried on the webpage another definition of the word advent: a coming into being or use.
The very words beckoned me, like glittering gold in a pile of coal.
Advent has asked me to look deep, to see what’s coming into being.
Where am I going? What path am I on, and with whom am I celebrating the twists and turns?
I’ve always thought that New Year’s was the time for self-discovery, but Advent has called first, and I must answer in the darkest corners of my heart, and on the waxed-clean surfaces, too.
And as the glow Christmas slowly flickers out and New Year’s comes beckoning, I am ushered into the newness of 2015.
If the Christ-child brought something new that night, the gift of His very presence, the start of Advent, can’t He re-create that gift year and year over in us?
We’re all going somewhere, because life and breath and time are not stagnant, and the ending of the calendar year reminds us that we seek glorious transformation.
And even in our Advent failings, we are called holy and we are called forward, into something.
Every day is some sort of renewal, but Advent is asking us to keep looking, past the holiday shopping and meal planning, through the glowing lights and underneath the piles of wrapping paper. Yes, even into the bottom of our eggnog glass, where we see ourselves, reflected.
Advent is asking us to look on into the future of who we are to be, and how we can get there with the being of Jesus leading us on.
Advent has called something out of us, and if we’re child-like enough to hear it, we may find, entirely fresh, the blessedness of the Christmas season as it brings itself to us.