>Advent of Advent

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So, it’s coming. No, it’s almost here.
Advent, I mean.
Tomorrow, tomorrow begins Advent: the season of Advent.

And I love this season.
And so of course I have a jumble of thoughts.

Some say that Christmas is just not the same anymore. Lights and stores are too fast off the mark. I get that. I like to have my holidays separate to themselves. I want to see Halloween decor in October and Turkeys, pumpkins and pine cones in November; rather than red tufting and elves already. However, in a way, these holidays connect. I think Thanksgiving is sort of a “pregame” for Advent.

Thanksgiving is a coming together of family, very often a literal arrival of family. There is a flurry of anticipation and preparation; a making ready. For thanksgiving, we make ready for our loved ones to come home, to visit, to be with us and for us to welcome them. We work ourselves silly, we talk and sit together, we feast together. It’s a bounty; of time, of food. We celebrate the love of family and friends and how no matter our differences or the old scratches and hurts….that family is still there, no matter what.

And that is exactly what we do for Advent too, but not only on a personal domestic scale, but on the global human eternal scale. We prepare for the coming, the advent, of our most real family. And that is why the holiday of Christmas is even more important. It calls to deep recognition of the beauty of that gift: of family, of incomprehensible love. It gets skewed, yes. It gets distorted, yup. Just like what is important in our immediate families all too often gets distorted, skewed, spun by unmet expectations.

Advent is our chance to prepare, fully, inside and out, for the coming of what is most real and the truest love. We get four weeks. Christ is coming. And while every year, I mean to be mindful throughout this season…..almost every year I blow it. But even so, it’s worth the effort. Living this season, in preparation and anticipation of this birth, this family, is worth the effort. It is more than challenging in our modern warp speed times. {For those of you modern hipsters, here is a link just for you (ahem: coffeedoc this one is for you!)}

But that’s why we have candles. We light another one each week, each Sunday night. And each night of the week during dinner. It is the glow of it that reminds us as dark falls outside and we sit, or plop, around the table to eat once again…that there is more here. There is more beyond us and we breathe in and can prepare our homes and hearts and selves. It’s Advent. Go to the Anchoress, she says it better than I can.

We’ve had our pregame. It was great. Filled with the usual crazy tired, too much food, resolutions to really now get in shape for pete’s sake, and the glances across a room, the raised eyebrows and the belly laughs. It was Thanksgiving.
And now, tomorrow, it’s Advent.

So, today I will get out the candles, find my purple tapers and my celtic advent wreath to hold them on the table. We begin to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. It’s here, it’s time!

Get out the candles.
Slow down.
Careful: don’t miss the beauty of this season
(I have, too many times)
.
It’s Advent!

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