I love the Advent season. As a child I simply loved the festivities that accompanied the beginning of December. My family would decorate our house with lights, put up the family Christmas tree and begin rehearsals for our church children’s pageant. I remember also our Advent calendar, mostly because of the small chocolates one would discover upon opening the tiny windows. I must confess that one year I was apparently very anxious for the arrival of Christmas day and decided to open (and eat) the entire month of December!
As an adult I still love those holiday traditions. However, the season of Advent represents far more to me now than a daily calendar. As I read through Enuma Okoro’s book Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent, I am encouraged to fully enter into these first advent stories. I find myself in constant reflection during Advent. It provides an opportunity to look back on the year that was and bring everything before God. It also provides an opportunity to look ahead to what could be and bring to God our hopes and dreams.
What has been significant for my wife Lauretta and I during our marriage is how we relate different to each character based upon the season of our life. For the first five years of marriage, the story of Elizabeth resonated deeply for us. We read in Luke 1 that Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah were childless and, I would imagine, constantly in prayer for God’s will for their future family. Though the years hurried along seemingly without an answer, they maintained their faithfulness towards each other and the service of the Lord.
I vividly remember one year ago while celebrating our first Advent season at our new church here in Paris, Lauretta and I lit the candle for Hope. It had been our prayer and hope to start a family and we entered into Advent waiting upon the Lord in anxiety.
One year later we anxiously await the arrival of our twin boys and now appreciate even more Mary’s Advent story. Luke’s narrative continues with the startling news of Mary’s, rather unexpected, pregnancy. This divine plan radically changed her life and for 9 months I imagine Mary pondering what her life would be like. I am sure that any soon-to-be parents have similar thoughts such as these: Am I ready? Will I be a good parent? What will this child be like?
Lauretta and I find ourselves immersed in this Advent story as our waiting continues, but now with excitement, anticipation, and a little anxiety mixed in!
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” – Luke1: 47