(My apologies for horrible grammar in this post, but I don't have time to fix it right now!)
Lent, I know. But Advent? I feel like I'm still figuring it out. I am loving it this year, though, all few days we've had of it so far.
I think this season has been highlighted this year by a conversation that we had with an aunt and uncle over Thanksgiving. My aunt is Mormon, and she said that they won't really have Christmas service, but they'll probably mention it some in their normal Sunday service the next day. My uncle said it was similar in his church (not really sure what he and his wife are denominationally at this point... maybe Church of Christ?). Whatever it is, they are not preparing anything special at their church for Christmas either. Both of their families do celebrate Christmas at home, just not really as a church family.
My eyes may have bugged a little, but I think I managed to keep my mouth shut at the time and not blurt anything too crazy. But I haven't been able to forget it. How can you more or less skip Christmas? I know that some people have their reasons, but Christmas and Easter are big touch points for me that remind me of who Christ is, and therefore who I am as a Christian. I absolutely love the fact that there is a period of preparation for these celebrations, and that when the day comes there is liturgy that focuses on the wonder of what happened. I also love that there is a Christmas season and an Easter season. Even my Protestant friends that have Christmas and Easter services, I could never quite wrap my head around the way that their celebration was that day then it's over.
Anyway, back to Advent itself. One of the things that I decided to do this year was to try to pray the liturgy of the hours each day. I think that has really helped me to understand this time better. It is a period of waiting, waiting for the remembrance and celebration for His first coming, but also very intensely in this first part of Advent, waiting for His second coming.
Waiting is my state of life, so I'm finding myself at home here in Advent. But there is a difference in Advent. I often feel completely alone in my waiting, but here I am waiting with the entire Church. I often feel hopeless in my waiting, but here I wait with hope and confidence, knowing that Christ did come and He will come again.
Another reason that I do not feel so alone in my waiting is that I've had a great opportunity to pray for someone else who is also waiting, and who is also not sure what their outcome will be. Our situations are not the same, but I know what it is to feel called to something and not to be sure whether it will happen. I do not know their pain, because no one can truly understand what someone else is going through, but I know that it is painful.
So, yeah. Really liking Advent this year. I'm finding myself not wanting to get my Christmas decorations out yet, and cringing at the Christmas music at work. Not because I'm not excited for Christmas, but because I'm not ready for it yet. I want to soak up the richness of this season first.