I may be the only one who thinks this way, but it feels to me as if the year drags along until about Halloween. Then it hits a steep downgrade so it feels like you’re running at breakneck speed to the end of the year. Halloween cascades into Thanksgiving which careens into advent and Christmas. By the time I get to Advent it feels like I’m riding that last slug of water that is spiraling the drain just before the water runs out. There is no stopping it, it is driven by forces beyond my control, and all I can do is hang on and ride through the vortex. The election being in the middle of all this may have added to that feeling.
Yet in the middle of all of the rush there is this season of Advent. Advent means “arrival,” and the entire point of Advent is that while we long for that arrival, yearn for that arrival, maybe even want to figure out a way to force that arrival, the only real option we have is to wait. We are powerless to do otherwise.
During Advent we consider those who waited so long for the Messiah to arrive. If we’re attentive enough, we find we relate to them because as a people we are waiting for Jesus to come again, and as individuals many of us are waiting for Jesus to show up in certain circumstances or situations in our lives.
So in this time of year when the calendar is racing along out of our control, and our lives are spiraling toward some destination beyond our sight, we are invited to step out of the stream and wait.
While it may seem counterintuitive to rest in the eye of the storm when the confusion around us is so visible, it may be the best gift you can give ourselves this season. A pause gives us a chance to recognize that although many who waited over the centuries didn’t get to see him, God was faithful and sent the Christ. God will be faithful to send him again when the time is right, and that same Christ is faithful to show up in our lives as well.
Advent is a season of waiting, but its name is a promise of an arrival. We wait in the shelter of that promise.