I do not feel excited about advent. I didn’t last year either. My instinct is to ask What is wrong with me?
Anticipation and preparation are the two words most used the last week, talking about advent. Instagram is going wild with it. We’re doing a series in church, and even most of my favorite podcasters are talking about it. But I don’t anticipate advent. I picture myself sitting hushed with glowing eyes while we light the first advent candle and whisper eternal promises to Erik out of an old Bible with gilded edges. And when I see that picture I experience no feelings. Hope doesn’t thrill out of the magic-infused candle that is supposed to remind us of hope. I just see a purple candle.
And preparation? I scarcely prepare dinner for us three at night, much less seasonal fairy lights, Christmas wreaths, a tree that Little E will pull ornaments off. No, I haven’t prepared for advent.
Really I just feel lonely. Like somehow my cell phone to God is out of range. I could dial and wait for him to pick up, but he won’t because I don’t have any reception. I could talk but it’d be pointless. I know it’s not true but sometimes the untrue things feel so very, very true it’s hard to see clearly what they are.
Perhaps this is my own advent. A season of quiet. Anticipating. Waiting to give gifts. Waiting to receive gifts. Waiting for the feeling of cold December air and warm December hearts to thaw my frosted-over edges.
Maybe I don’t need to remember the 400 years of silence that Israel experienced; maybe what I need to know that even after 400 years that seemed to never end, God still spoke. God still came. The Time That Felt Like Forever was over with the birthed babe sleeping in soft straw. My own times that feel like forever will be over too. I can cling to the advent promise even when the cheerful advent heart eludes me. I can watch the flickering Hope-candle that doesn’t go out because maybe it will flicker my own hope back to life.
Advent, this year, is less the remembrance and more the reminder. God is coming. God is coming. God is coming. It is less the lighted preparation and more the steady looking forward. The silence will end. The ache will end. The loneliness will end.
It will. I will light a candle and remember; the silence breaks, in the end. Breaks into bright scattered fragments made beautiful when the light shines on them.