When I first heard of celebrating Advent I was intimately familiar with the calendars, but not the season. I had to look it up.
Entre Pinterest. (I love Pinterest. I can’t blame any of my misperceptions on them.)
It was around December 1 a few years ago and the array of Bible Studies, homemade Advent calendars and printable scripture reading plans was dizzying.
“I’m not prepared!”, I thought.
When I queried other women at church about their Advent habits, I got the same sense.
Some were members of my Camp of the Ill-prepared. Others had their reading plans underway and their colouring pages printed and blossoming with pencil crayon goodness.
Advent was at risk of slipping into the abyss of worldly Christmas celebrations.
- Put it on a to-do list.
- Gather the right supplies.
- Check off the tasks as you get them done. Good girl!
Ack! Please no.
Something in me wanted Advent to be more. More than just being organized; being prepared.
What I’ve learned since that first exploratory research is that Advent is about expectant waiting – anticipation – not about preparedness.
So, please, come ill-prepared for Advent.
If we’re truly preparing our hearts for Jesus to bring his light into our messy, chaotic lives, I can get that. But can we really prepare broken hearts?
I don’t know about you, but I meet my match when trying to prepare myself and my relatively self-reliant children for the average weekday. So, the idea of preparing this woman, this redeemed but seriously broken woman, for the return of the Lord…
… It’s not even overwhelming. It’s just plain ridiculous.
Jesus is not returning to join us in our successful venture like, “Oh good. Looks like you’ve kept things running along smoothly. Thanks. I’ll take it from here.”
He’s coming to pick us up out of the darkness of this world. He’s coming to lift all of our burdens and bring us into his light.
That is not something I’m capable of preparing for.
Advent is About Anticipation
Anticipation, I can do because there’s nothing to be done.
Anticipation is a state of being. It’s synonymous with ‘suspense’. I love that because you just can’t prepare to be in suspense.
I would anticipate Jesus coming the same way I would dream of a country I was anticipating visiting.
Or the way I would imagine a person arriving who was coming to throw open the bars of my cell and declare me free.
When I think about it as a season of anticipation, instead of preparation, Advent looks so different.
My Bible reading doesn’t look like a formula. My prayers aren’t on a checklist.
I’m kneeling with hands lifted, in awe and gratitude for a who God comes to this place, for me. And for you.
I know saying Happy Advent isn’t a thing. But, what the heck. Happy Advent!