Advent arrives for us in the northern hemisphere in the darkest, coldest time of the year. The shorter days make us long for comfort, candles, and fire. Nature signals that it is time for quiet and rest, rather than the productivity of the planting, growing and harvest.

As a child, I was full of anticipation going to the church services in the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved the lighting of the Advent candle each week, the singing of the carols, and the story moving us closer and closer to Christmas. Advent marked waiting, culminating on Christmas Eve with a candlelight service and the lighting of the white candle in the center, the Christ candle, signaling the arrival of Christmas— the celebration of tangible love manifesting in our world. 

This year, in another stage of life, I am relishing the pregnant pause of the season. Each morning, I sit with my Advent reading, a journal, a candle and a cup of coffee and pause. I want to be present to the journey that leads us to Christmas…present to the lament of a world that aches for healing and love, the yearning for redemption, the hope and promise of newness, and the wonder of love. As I sit each morning, I remember where I sit in this story. I long for my homeless neighbor to be safe, cared for and warm, for healing in the bodies of those I love, for love to triumph over discord, for refugees to finally find a welcome home, for those on the edges of our circles to know belonging. I feel my own longings for wholeness and belonging. Here I wait for the Christ child in my own life. I feel the anticipation of God’s remaking in and around me. Love has come into the world.
    
And love elicits a response. For this moment, I pause in wonder at the ways love shows up in my life—the crinkly eyed smile of my son, the thoughtful surprise given by my husband, the smell of pine, shared laughter, and live orchestral music, the friendly assistance from a neighbor. And in this pause, I am invited to respond to lament, struggle and yearning for hope and newness in love—to slow down and let love be birthed tangibly through me to strangers, neighbors, enemies, family, and friends.

Join me: 

• How will you find spaces to pause this Advent?

• Where do you long for healing, wholeness and love to show up today?

• Where do you see Love showing up in your life?

• How can you be Love to someone else today?

by Lisa Scandrette

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