contributed by Jeremy
Advent really is one of my favorite times of year. I like my life to generally take something of a slower pace. My wife can tell you that I often prefer to stay home on a Friday night with a DVD and some tea than trek out to a birthday party or a concert. So it is with some excitement that I greet the advent season, a time when slowing down, waiting, and contemplating become the broader modus operandi of classical church traditions – a time when everyone slows down to my pace!
Advent always carries with it an emphasis on intentionally engaging with the act of waiting and anticipating, and in 2010, I feel as though I’ve been waiting and anticipating most of the year, after Shari and I discovered quite early in the year that we would be having a baby! In the ensuing nine months, we waited and anticipated the time when… well, when she wouldn’t be pregnant anymore, I guess.
For the longest time, the fact that my wife was pregnant felt like enough of an adventure for us, without having to think about the fact that being pregnant generally ends in having a baby, which generally leads to having to actually raise a child. In many ways, the time of being pregnant felt very disconnected from the fact that we were about to have a baby. I spent a lot of time waiting and anticipating, but I didn’t always truly realize what we were anticipating and waiting for. At times we had to deliberately remind ourselves that when the nine months were up, we would be having a baby! It took deliberately meditating on what we were anticipating before I could begin to prepare myself emotionally for what’s next.
Entering advent this year, I’m trying to take that lesson with me. It’s all well and good to enter into the activity of slowing down, anticipating, waiting… but in this time I find it’s important to remind myself what I’m waiting for. I need to be intentional about putting the pieces together. Advent isn’t just about waiting, it’s about preparing myself to really engage with the spiritual and emotional realities of Christmas.
This time, I’m not just waiting for it to be over. There’s something coming at the end of advent, and it's even more exciting than the anticipation.