It’s no secret to my friends and family that I had a hard time with my pregnancies. Really hard. The nausea, aching, bloating, migraines, puking, pains, fears, insomnia, heaviness, hormones and lethargy were straight out of a horror movie that no one would ever choose to make or watch.
The only thing that kept me going was that the waiting was fused with hope. With every shred of my being, I leaned into hope. Hope of feeling better, hope of a new baby, and hope that something bigger, and better and more beautiful was unfolding. If I didn’t hope, the misery of those months would have swallowed me up.
It occurred to me that Advent is about a pregnancy. The world was broken and all wrong, and nauseating, and Mary was pregnant with the One who was going to start fixing it.
Advent is about waiting expectantly and choosing to hope, and not despair, no matter how bad things get.
Last weekend I had to leave my friend’s birthday party so I could take care of a car repair that started small, and morphed into a 2 day ordeal. I kept trying to drive away, only to have to turn back because the steering wheel was still shaking, then the alignment was off, and then there was a new “thunk” sound.
It seemed like they were creating or uncovering more problems with each problem they fixed. I paced around the store checking the time on my phone every couple of minutes and rethinking our Christmas budget.
Advent is also about pacing around the car repair shop, breathing in motor oil fumes and missing a party. It turns out, life is still broken. There is still sickness, and broken cars, and dashed hopes, and fractured relationships, and injustice.
Life presents ample opportunities to choose to hope that there is something bigger and better and more beautiful unfolding.
This year, my husband and I decided to celebrate Advent. We want to experience more of God in those moments of waiting and longing for things like love and light to make headway.
If anyone else is craving a meaningful holiday season, you are invited to join us in an advent experience. Here are some ideas on how to participate:
- Get 24 of something you enjoy, one for each day of Advent. My husband is participating in something called “Beer Advent” in which he and seventy some others ordered craft beers from all over the world. They mixed and matched the bottles from each case so that each person has one of each variety to drink on each day of Advent.The idea is to take time, slow down, and enjoy a beverage while thinking about what it means that Jesus came into our broken world. If I drank that many beers, I’d probably have a beer belly by Christmas, so I’m opting for a cup of hot tea and a bubble bath every evening. Really, anything would work- chocolate, candles, caramels, or even pickles if that sounds good. The key is that it is something you will look forward to. This is a celebration, not a punishment.
- Read a book (or booklet, or blog post, or scripture) about Advent, like this one by Richard Rohr. Nothing too thick or intense, just something that will guide you in thinking and talking about what Advent means for you today.
- Come back here and connect with us. Share your Advent thoughts, revelations, experiences, joys and hopes. The more, the merrier.
I will do my best to post a few updates on my Advent experience. Or if you want to share, I am open to a guest poster on this topic, just contact me on my “About Page” to be considered.
p.s. If you are not into church or God, or Christmas, you are welcome to participate in a way that makes sense to you and your thoughts are also welcomed and valued in this discussion.