What is December like for you? How much space do you have to sit and reflect? How much time do you have to hope?
It is a busy month for us. My work as a pastor is busy in December with Advent and Christmas Eve planning and preparation. It is also the end of the year with all the tasks and processes that need to be accomplished in an orderly fashion. Holly’s work is busy as well with deadlines and crunch time. We still have to decorate the house, think about Christmas cards, and make Christmas cookies. Abby has her play and Christmas choir and band concerts coming up. We have a couple Christmas parties sprinkled in, with Christmas shopping, and shipping gifts to family with enough time for them to arrive before the 25th.
The Christmas season is busy, maybe even frantic at moments. I wonder if it works against the whole notion of Advent? As we turn the liturgical color to purple for this first Sunday in Advent, it signals a time of preparation and repentance. Repentance takes time to consider what we are repenting of, and what new direction we ought to be making a turn towards.
We don’t often think of the Advent season as a season of repentance; that sounds more like Lent. What do we have to repent of? Perhaps we ought to repent of our patterns and rhythms that do not reflect the themes of Advent, like Christ’s hope, joy, peace and love. Perhaps we need to repent of our complicit-ness in the current state of the world. We have not worked towards God’s “kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” We have not anticipated and worked towards the fullness of Christ’s vision for humanity.
A thoughtful and reflective season takes time and space. Do you have any in this busy month of December? Time to pray? Space to reflect? Room to repent, and to turn towards the kingdom that Christ speaks of, towards a hopeful way of living and being in the world?
I suppose such a focus for Advent is a little counter to the normal bustle and Christmas Party conversation. But maybe there is space even so. Maybe we can make space, even in our conversations to consider together what a life of hope and joy and peace and love might look like in this world. How do we anticipate the kingdom? What do we repent of, and what does the turn towards kingdom priorities look like?
It takes some effort. It takes some time. Do you have time to hope this advent? Do you have time to repent?
Wishing us a blessed Advent,