As I said yesterday, Advent is about new beginnings. But the first week of Advent is about waiting for them. God’s timing teaches us that we must wait. Advent teach us how we should wait. Advent is about Active waiting. We wait, with hope.
My friend Amy Young is also exploring the meaning of Advent and Walking through the Christian Year. She is using her friend Kimberlee Breton’s book as a guide— it is called Circle of Seasons:Meeting God in the Church Year. We will be taking turns with our posts on Mondays, for the next 4 weeks, with some other special collaborations coming up, too! Today, it’s her turn:
Oh this is rich people. This is rich.
I’m mildly familiar with Advent (emphasis on mildly). So, I knew it was about waiting. What I have missed, until recent years, is that the way America (and it could be the rest of the world too, but I don’t want to throw you under the bus with me) prepares for Christmas puts much of the emphasis on building up to Christmas Day, and then the season is over.
Instead, the Church Year has: Advent, Christmas (the 12 days of Christmas), and then Epiphany.
“Unfortunately Advent as a liturgical season focused on waiting and inward preparation has disappeared culturally; even in the church we often ignore its call to reflection. Advent has become ‘the holiday season,’ and we measure it in the number of shopping days left before the twenty-fifth of December rolls around.” (page 19, The Circle of Seasons)
I appreciate that this first week of Advent, the word is “Wait.”
Probably like 99% of the population, I want other people to be good at waiting and hope to arrange my life so that I have minimized waiting. So, this Advent season, I want to look for where I am waiting and not merely wait there, but actively wait. Kimberlee quoted from one of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen:
“Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.”
Wow. To be present fully to the moment. Yes, my soul says. That is the kind of person I want to be.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about throwing the baby out with the bath water. I’m still going to obsess over Christmas lights (the more the better—right?! Right?!!!), eat holiday treats, buy presents, fuss over how fast time is passing.
I still walk on the ground and live a real life. I know you do, too.
I’ve been tuning in to active waiting as a counter balance to some of the traditional ways of celebrating Christmas. As I tune in, I’m trying to let the sensation—at times annoyance—of anticipation form my soul, too.
Here are a few instances I noticed waiting:
- I’ve been working with an amazing blog designer to revamp the look and functionality of The Messy Middle. I cannot wait for you to see it! Ha! Do you hear me? I can wait, I will wait! But thankfully, not much longer. On Wednesday I’m excited to give you a tour and let you poke around yourself. This season of waiting is almost done. Yippee!
- My book: I’m at the stage where others are helping me with the back cover and the formatting. (Christie and Andy these are big shout outs to you). The do something and then email it back to me for my input. It’s a little like hurry up and wait. In a good way, but also with a little bit of pressure. Am I noticing the little details I need to be noticing? Am I making the right decisions about font, size, color? Will this really be worth all the effort many have invested? Even when we are done, there is still more waiting because Looming Transitions won’t be in your hot little hands until January. This experience with waiting is so…
My name is Amy and I live in the messy middle of life. I have been Redeemed from permanent muck and live with the tension of the Already and Not Yet.