Can't I just skip Advent?
We are now part way through the first week of Advent, and I’ve decided I don’t like Advent. Not really…but sort of. I had all my ideas for how I wanted to enter into Advent and then God decided to pull me into Advent in a whole different way…
One of the things that I had wanted to do this Advent was focus on the idea of Jesus being the light of the world and take time to anticipate His true Light coming into the world. Part of the way I envisioned doing that was by starting Advent in complete darkness and meditating and praying in darkness for a while so as to experience the need for light. Then lighting a candle and in doing so look forward to the coming of light. I wasn’t able to do that on the first day of Advent like I had hoped. I had wanted to experience the symbolism of darkness so that I could experience the symbolism of Christ as light, but instead I feel like God has taken me into real tangible darkness. I didn’t turn off all the lights and pray in darkness like I had planned, but I did take a plane back to Prague and as we drove home in complete darkness I felt the darkness of Prague and the darkness of my own life like never before. Things have felt sort of dark for a while now, or maybe more accurately I’ve felt this rumbling of darkness coming, and right before we left for Prague I started to really feel that darkness, but last night when we got back to Prague I felt darkness pressing in all around me in a way I never have before – heavy darkness, tangible darkness, spiritual and emotional darkness.
I realized today also that even though I had all these readings and stories and symbols that I wanted to draw me into Advent, Jesus chose to drew me in by taking me to a place where I feel like I have to wait, where things feel really unclear and really “icky”. But, isn’t that really the heart of Advent? Advent is about waiting, it’s a time when we enter into the experience that Israel had of waiting for a messiah. It’s a time when we realize that we also are in ways still waiting for and needing a messiah. I have known that’s what Advent is about, but lately I have really experienced that. I have really felt and experienced being stuck in ways and situations that I can’t get out of, stuck in waiting, stuck in darkness, and I deeply long for relief, for a break, for rest and redemption and restoration. I long for a messiah. I long for Christmas.
I wanted to really enter into Advent and God answered that and took me to a place where I really do long and desire and wait, even with a ting of desperation… but, now that I’m in that place, I don’t want to be. I want to skip Advent. I want to skip the waiting. I want Christmas.
Lord, help me to rest in the place that you have me, and accept it for your place for me.
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman