Advent: On Hopes & Fears & Waiting

FullSizeRenderWhat are your Advent rhythms? Have you ever celebrated THE COMING for the month of December before? Advent is defined as: an arrival of something significant and is celebrated by Christians the 4 Sundays in December preceding Christmas. The latin translation is: the coming.

This Advent season has felt heavy, looking around & absorbing the stories of our weary world. I have craved my quiet corners of time sitting under the Hope of fulfilled longings more than ever before. A line from the song Great Rejoicing by Thad Cockrell on the Rain for Roots Waiting Songs album sums it up: There’s going to be a Great Rejoicing, the troubles of this world will wither up and die. I can feel reality of this Truth as it leaves their lips and penetrates my heart. Oh how my soul sings at just the thought! The song continues & stops me in my tracks:

Someday you will find me
Guarded in His fortress
Open heart and wings
That never touch the ground
Someday we will gather
In a grand reunion
Debts of this old world
Are nowhere to be found
Nowhere to be found

I softly sigh with each lyric as my heartbeat pounds: There’s going to be a Great Rejoicing!

This is advent! We wait for what is to come, and while we wait, we taste of the goodness all around us, even when it feels like darkness is overshadowing, we HOPE for what we do not yet have (Romans 8)!

I did not start regularly practicing the rhythm of Advent until my freshman year in college when the church I was visiting that first Fall semester introduced it to me for the first time. It instantly made logical sense in my mind that we would need a lengthy season of waiting to guide to such a momentus point of celebration in our history; however Christmas seemed to just come out of no where to me for most of my life. It was almost as if the idea itself of a slow, steady wait soothed my soul & calmed the hustle of the holiday season when I first was exposed to it that bright, yet chilly Sunday in Raleigh. A decade later, in a very different stage of life, I am further developing the ways I focus on Jesus in the midst of the most consumeristic and fast paced time of year in our country within my home + beyond.

I can still remember very clearly the first day of December in 2006, the kickoff of my first married Advent season. I had a meager budget to snag a few thrifty decorations to garnish our mantle & tree. I took an afternoon to go shop at Ten Thousand Villages for some brown star garland to match our leftover grapevine balls from our wedding that shone with white lights. I took a few random items off our mantle of aged brick with peeling paint in our tiny den to create room, space for something Greater. I then confidently shifted my teal barn star to the left side, and added some red beaded decor and draped the newfound stars along the edges. I stood back giddy at the gift of getting to create with a purpose! I felt so free! Free to make something beautiful that we would enjoy & gather around for the month to come, as we eagerly awaited Christmas, the coming of Christ! This is where my love for Advent rooted + spread!

As my kids are entering the tail end of preschool and Kindergarten it has been a sweet routine for us to take time in the evenings to connect in the waiting. Many nights it feels rushed to get everyone calmed from the hustle of the day’s responsibilities, but we all end up feeling connected after we read together and hang our ornament on the Jesse Tree. It’s as if the worries of the world truly do fade away, even just for that moment. We head into bedtime with peace overcoming our aching hearts from the day.

Over the years, more people in my age range have latched onto the ancient idea of celebrating the coming of Christ the entire month before Christmas arrives, and I now have a solid list of favorite resources to share:

1- Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift & Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

2- She Reads Truth Advent Study Plan (book)

3- True Cotton Art Advent Calendar

4- Rain for Roots Waiting Songs (CD)

May you have a sweet season of Advent leading up to a celebration of the Greatest Gift a baby King born into this weary world offers so that we might have a never-ending Home and taste of it here on earth with those we love! Tis the season, to taste of the land of milk + honey!

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