Everybody tells me that I am supposed to get excited for Christmas.
And really, there are so many possible entry points. I could be all consumeristic and get excited about the sales. I could take the nostalgic route and listen to the songs. There is a brotherhood of rather dramatic folks who bond over cynicism around the holiday. There are stories about the manger, connections to unwed mothers. Apparently I could get upset about some sort-of war on Christmas, or I could join the larger group of people getting upset about the fact that people are claiming that their is a war on Christmas. I could take the theological route, or the charitable one…
And none of it is speaking to me, this year. I am not even passionate about being grinchy this year. Charlie Brown’s wailings about the real meaning of Christmas… These are no more interesting to me, right now, than a man-child-elf guy running around with a bag of spaghetti.
I was pondering, and reading, and looking, though, and then I began to think about some things that I already new:
Once, the world had been silent for centuries.
There were these people who felt like they had been chosen by God. They told these stories, where he entered into their lives. They practiced these traditions. They did the things that they had been told to do.
They were conquered and beaten, occupied. The collection of holy stories that they revered must have begun to seem stale. Generation followed generation into the grave.
The promises of deliverance must have seemed so hollow.
Then he came and turned everything upside down, entering the world in this new way that changed everything.
It is not this story, by itself, that speaks to me, this year. It has before. Maybe it does for you. If so? That’s great.
So often when I think about the ancient Isrealites, I realize that their story is my story. This is no exception.
There are ways that I feel like my world has been silent for centuries.
Though I have felt chosen by God, sometimes it feels like all I have is these stories. I feel myself growing more distant from God’s entrance into my life. I feel myself growing more desperate for him to come into my world in some new way.
And so this is where Advent is for me, now. This hope that God that invades the places we think he has forgotten about. This knowledge that he comes in these new, backwards ways that cause us to completely see him anew.
I know that there is this hope that Jesus will re-enter the cosmic world outside of us; I know that people link his truimphant return to his initial entry into the world.
But right now? Right now, the thing I feel ready for is this quiet entry into my own inner world. That is where advent is for me, this year.
What about you?