Here at Maplehurst, it is the darkest time of year.
Darkness isn’t only a condition on the other side of your window. Sometimes, it is a weight on your chest. Sometimes, it is a fog behind your eyes.
In other words, our walls and windows don’t always keep it out.
Two years ago, I was living in a wilderness. I was so desperate for light and newness I decided to post something – a reflection, a prayer, a poem, a scrap of song – every day of Advent. I knew my own efforts couldn’t make the light dawn any sooner, but I wanted to be ready when it did. I wanted to be there, waiting, with eyes wide open for those first streaks of gold in the eastern sky.
In early January that year, we found out our fourth baby was on the way. And I knew then some of what I’d been waiting for. Born in September, I still think of her as my Advent child. Without even realizing it, I was praying my way to her.
Last year at Advent, I held that same baby in my arms. I rocked her to sleep in my dream-come-true of a farmhouse, but there was something darker in my head than anything I could see through the wavy glass of these old windows. Was it hormones, sleep-deprivation, the unending tasks of moving and setting up a new home? Probably I can blame all of the above and more besides. I felt both completely ill-equipped to blog every day and desperate to mark my steps toward light and hope and the easy burden offered in Jesus.
One more year, and I am standing here again. Looking back, looking ahead.
Once again, I feel too tired. Too busy. Too small. But I also feel grateful. I feel as if something has accrued in these years observing Advent. The circle of the year has not brought me all the way back to the point where I began. These days may be dark, but, if I look honestly, I see how much brighter they are than any I’ve previously known.
Here is the paradox of advent: it is a season of quiet waiting and preparation, but this is quietness like tremors before an earthquake. Because every day is moving us closer to momentous change: the anniversary of a baby’s birth, the second coming of a King.
Yes, it is very dark. All seems still and unchanging. But can you feel the world turning? Can you feel that rushing beneath your planted feet?
At Advent, we return to the beginning (a new year, a baby’s birth), but we are always closer to the end (a wedding supper and a kingdom fully come). Like the movement of our planet, sometimes the swiftest path forward is also a return. And so, I am looking back and pressing on. I am remembering what has been and welcoming what is to come. I am waiting. I am standing still. Dawn is streaming ever closer to eyes open and arms held wide.
And I know this: Someone has come. Someone is coming. And every day brings us more.
I want more.
I want it for myself. I want it for this whole beautiful, broken world.
Advent cannot ever be fully practiced alone. Like the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and their two unborn sons, our hope and expectation are meant to draw us together.
I am doing this again. Advent every day.
Will you join me?
You can find my previous Advent introductions here and here.
Find links to each Advent post on facebook. You can also subscribe and receive each Advent post in your email inbox.
I will join you, in reading daily. I might join you in drawing daily. I love the photos here.
Oh, please do, Laura. I’d love to share links to your drawings. I’ve told you before, but they make me happy.
With you heart and soul, friend. Nothing could beat sitting across the table from you over steaming mugs … But reading your words everyday of Advent is a close second.
Thank you, dear Kelli. I will love journeying with you this Advent.
Absolutely here – I’ll be doing a devo during Advent, not the same as what you create here, but just small reflections on scripture. At least that’s the current plan.
Looking forward to it, Diana!
Thank you, Lisa.
I stumbled onto your blog, I’m not even sure how – maybe Pinterest – most likely God.
I love your looking back and looking ahead. That really captures the essence of Advent. We are celebrating what was and what is to come. You put it so beautifully. I will definitely follow along with you this Advent.
Thank you for your words, Janice. They are so encouraging, and I’m blessed to have you joining me.
Yea yes yes. I’m in! I’m here, waiting and wandering with you!!
Yes! Thank you, Kris!
I love this. Really looking forward to reading your reflections, Christie.
Thank you, Annie! It makes my heart glad to know you’ll be reading along.
I found you through a link from Shelly Miller. I’m doing an Advent devotional with another blog I to which I subscribe, but I will be stopping by your site to see what you share.
So glad to have you here, Teresa! May yours be a blessed Advent.
Look forward to joining you this Advent season. Truly beautiful words pointing to our Savior! Thank you for sharing your heart.
Thank you, Allison. So glad to have you here.
I am looking forward to enjoying your wisdom during Advent. Thank you, Christie.
Thank you, Sue! So glad you’ll be joining me for this journey.
My friends and I are choosing to do one kind act, every day, from now until Christmas (it’s our second year doing it, and it’s now my favorite Christmas tradition — we call it Advent Acts of Kindness). But I love the idea of focusing on Advent in the way that you are — the thought behind the action, as it were. I’d love to follow along on your daily Advent journey.
I love this, Kristin. It reminds me of a line from my devotional reading the first day of Advent: “May we cry the gospel from the rooftops: both with our words and with our lives” (from one of my favorite prayer books, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. We need both, and I’ve been unsure this season about the action. I’m comfortable in a world of words, but action intimidates me. But, kindness? That seems much less scary. It even seems exciting. Fun. I can understand why it’s become a favorite tradition.
Ahhh, friend. This is what my heart needs. “A weary world rejoices…”
So grateful to be able to join you in this journey.
This spoke to my my heart today. Thank you, Christie <3