Strolling through a big box store a few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by a sensory extravaganza of Christmas trees, snowmen and blinking lights.
I love Christmas as much as the next guy, maybe even more than the next guy, but come on! Let me finish drinking my pumpkin spice latte and carving my jack-o-lantern (let alone arrive at Thanksgiving) before I start thinking about Christmas.
In the Christian tradition is the ancient practice of Advent. Not the cool countdown calendar with chocolate behind each door. Though, what’s not to love about that? No, I’m talking about the practice of creating space and time before Christmas, of soaking up the lead-in to Christmas, of holding the frenzy at bay and giving yourself room to breathe and welcome all that is true and right and good and holy and life-giving that is Christmas.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means coming. Advent is, spiritually speaking, like preparing the room for the new baby due to arrive in a month. While there is a lot to do, perhaps there is wisdom in taking time to linger at the empty crib and let the sense of expectation, awe and thanksgiving flood in.
That itself is quite a gift.