When people say “What’s your favorite season”, I usually come up with something traditional like “spring” or “fall”… the trouble with that, though, is that those answers are constantly changing. I don’t know what my favorite natural season is.
However, what I really have to bite my tongue to keep from saying when asked that question is “ADVENT!!” I usually save that answer for when I am surrounded by other church nerds like me…
Really, though, I love advent. Actually, I love advent more than Christmas (though I love Christmas, too). This year, especially, as the days get very noticeably shorter and shorter and don’t start getting longer until — you guessed it — Christmas(ish), I could hardly wait for the time of preparation that means that Christmas is coming. Gee, whoever thought of the image of Christ as the light coming into the darkness must have lived in Scotland.
Also here where I don’t have radio or TV or shopping malls or even decorated stores to bombard me with commercialization around Christmas, here where the signs of Christmas come first in the Isaiah readings for morning worships and in the lighting of advent candles on the table in the chapel, here where the supply of good Advent songs nearly outstrips the supply of good Christmas songs, I am having a field day. I love advent.
I think it’s the journey that I love. I think it’s the waiting, the practice of patience that is providing an exciting challenge. I think it’s my English major’s love of symbolism that has me wide-eyed, noticing so much more. It’s like being on a train ride across the States — so much to see on the journey that the destination becomes only part (albeit a wonderful part) of the whole.
And this time around, I get to help prepare worships and help other people think through what advent means. And I get to dig around in music, and when I find gems, I get to share them and sing them with other people.
(By the way, check out Sing the Journey if you get a chance — a Mennonite Hymnal Supplement — look for My Soul Cries Out, which is the Magnificat to the Star of the County Down tune, and look for Helpless and Hungry, which is a splendid countermelody to What Child is This.)
So if I’ve inspired excitement for advent in you, go out and get yourself an advent wreath and play with fire a bit and read good things and sing good songs… (but if you do, make sure your candles are 3 purple and 1 pink… not 4 red like over here…) and think of me. =)