Feeling Asleep this Advent?




You may love the season of Advent with candles and Christmas services. Those favorite Advent calendars. The book you pull out each year during these weeks before the celebration of the birth of Christ. I love it, too. To be honest, it is a favorite thing for me, to orient the days of December around the rhythms of Advent. And yet, there is pain hidden in this nostalgic ceremony of sorts. Waiting is hard. Chronic anything steals our hope. It's almost gotten harder as we have grown used to next day deliveries, same day appointments, and quick turn-arounds on whatever we need. These days, we may get stuff fast...


...but the heart is a different story altogether. Freedom from fear, overcoming toxic comparison, awakening forgiveness, breaking down in repentance, loosening the grip on control, and rewiring the damaging, set-in-stone patterns after years of marriage, These take intentional work and long hours, days, years. We don't think we can make it. We wonder if growth will ever come. This is when Advent really matters. Not the sentimental quotes and readings, but the robust promise that light WILL push itself into the darkest places and warm it up with hope.


So what do we do when we feel lost? When faith flatlines and hearts grow cold toward God?


Engage in his creation.

Be silent.

Walk.

Get off the phone.

Confess.

Sing a worship song alone in the car.

Write.

Cry, if you can.

Name what is off, and ask for help.

Read good poetry.

Listen to classical music.


Getting in touch with the Spirit, becoming present with God may be more simple than we think. In a culture streaming noise into our heads continuously on every platform possible at all hours, it's no wonder our hearts are numb. No wonder we feel lost and untethered. No wonder we can't hear what is heard only in silence. Advent reminds us to look and be alert, to listen and wait. Receive. To not run to the next thing or default to scrolling and wasting time. Advent exhorts us to sit in the dark and wait for the light. To wait with hope.


It will come.


It's been a hard few months for us...these are the words God has given me tonight as I sat alone by the fire.



Advent.


The stream is what you need.

Quiet and calm,

but moving.

Cold water, it's shape changing.


You need fields.

Vast and silent,

but welcoming.

Peppered with geese who are calling.


Light is what you need.

Soft and warm,

but strong.

Shinning ahead, paving the way.

Have you felt numb before?

Like this?

For this long,

so you don't see,

the great blue heron,

or hear the church bells

carry their notes

down the gravel road

along the river

across pastoral fields

turning their songs

into poetry

and dropping them into your soul?


You need tears.

Steady and constant,

but reaching deep down.

Softening stone, calling out new songs.