A Season of Preparation
In Advent, we set aside an entire season to prepare for Jesus' birth – Elis Hiu-Mei Lui, Holy Is His Name: Daily Devotions for Advent, pg. 10
Advent is the season of preparation, as we prepare for Jesus' birth. Advent is the season of the already and the not yet, as we prepare for what has already taken place in Bethlehem and the not yet of Christ's return. Advent is the season of slowing down, as we take a step back from the oncoming rush of Christmas and learn to wait, as Mary and Joseph waited for the birth.
Advent is a special season, with the blessed changed of colors to blue (or purple in some churches) after the seemingly forever season of green, with a slower pace (think about the music and other pieces of the liturgy that slow down), and with a recurring theme of, “Prepare and wait,” the Season of Advent calls us to a different way of being than we have been.
As the above quote says, we have an entire season to prepare for Jesus' birth.
But contrary to that season of preparation, of slowing down, of waiting, there is oftentimes a feeling of being overwhelmed. We have trees to put up, gifts to buy, decorations to set out, cookies to bake, letters to be written, cards to be mailed, dinners to be planned, and any number of other committee or board meetings, activity planning sessions, and regular deadlines to be met.
When, exactly, are we supposed to set aside any time for preparation? When, exactly, are we supposed to set aside any time for slowing down? When, exactly, are we supposed to set aside any time to rest in the presence of God?
The ideal Advent – a period of slowing down, of intentional preparation, of calm waiting – might be as much of an unattainable goal as having the perfect Currier & Ives postcard Christmas.
Maybe the ideal Advent isn't found in the activities of preparation. Maybe the ideal Advent isn't about being prepared for whatever this season throws your way. Instead, maybe the ideal Advent is found in our willingness to open up to God and let God prepare us for something new.
In this season set aside for preparation, don't forget to set aside some time for God to prepare you.