Wait With Me? An Advent Challenge
The title came to me first, as often is the case with my writing. A title pops in my head and then I have to open and blank page and trust the rest of it will come. This title came after I had already decided to issue an Advent Challenge to a close friend who travels the spiritual journey with me and to my two children.
I’d been thinking since for a few days about how to be intentional about Advent this year. If you started reading this blog before Ordinary Time, which seems to last forever by the way, you may have noticed that several times last year I wrote about the liturgical seasons. This Advent for me marks the first year of my life to consciously observe the full liturgical calendar.
I wrote this at the beginning of Lent last year:
I didn’t mean to start this liturgical theme in my blog, but Advent brought an anxious waiting, Christmas retold a story, and Epiphany began a journey toward something to behold.
It seems a Mystery beyond me is being lived in my story. A wheel-shaped diagram on the inside cover of the book represents the liturgical year of the church. My own story seems to be a wheel within the wheel.
As 2015 ended, a friend talked me into buying the Sacred Ordinary Days planner and exploring the liturgical seasons with her. I’d already bought this book Living the Christian Year to use as a devotional guide. Before I knew it, I was becoming conscious of my life in the larger story.
Advent a year ago was about the darkness of anxiety.
We can’t seem to stay in conscious awareness so we stress about the details, and worry about the deadlines, and experience the darkness even as we carry the peace of God and the light of the world within us.
That same friend left a present on my doorstep last Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent. The brown paper tied in a beautiful red bow concealed an Advent wreath . Everybody needs a friend like her. Even if I wanted to default to my previous frantic race-through-commercial-Christmas self, (which I do not), she wouldn’t let me. She finds ways to remind me to pay attention to my life.
This year Advent seems for me to be about waiting for dawn, for light, for something to be born.
So after the wreath showed up, I got serious about what I would do this year. Read through Living the Christian Year again? Return to The Divine Hours ? Buy a new book for Advent? Several good ones have been recommended on blogs I read.
Then in the wee hours yesterday morning, the dark-before-dawn when I know the thoughts cannot be my own because I’m not coherent before my cup of coffee, the idea came to me: Read the Gospel of John.
I’ve read John. Several times. I’ve studied John in groups. I’ve taught John. I think I’ll buy a new Advent book. Read the book of John. There is was again. Once I got up, turned the light on and had some coffee, I read chapter one of John’s gospel. And I remembered how much I loved it.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out. (verse 4)
So here is my Advent challenge to you, my readers - for whom I am eternally grateful because you make facing the blank page worth it! Wait with me this Advent. Read the book of John with me.
Or seek out your own Advent practice.
Perhaps you’ll keep a calendar with children or make a playlist. I’ve recently discovered Carrie Newcomer’s song Lean In Toward The Light and that song tops my playlist. Or maybe you’ll survive something and have story about waiting and light to share with me. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment directly on the blog or Insta, Twitter, Facebook. I’d love to know what you ‘see and hear’. And when Advent is over I’ll pull all that light together and post it on the blog.