There is no one right way to do this season. Whether you observe a strict Advent, Christmas only, or some mish-mash of the two, we all celebrate in our own ways.
We do it just the way our own parents did, or we do it just the opposite. We did it one way before our marriage and something else again now. We do it differently every year depending on someone’s health or who might be just the age for grabbing ornaments off the tree.
There are so many ways to celebrate well.
There are so many ways to live well.
I have always loved anticipation. I have always been the quiet, watchful sort. Though I wasn’t raised with Advent, my years of Advent observance now seem inevitable. The season fits me like a glove.
In some ways it also fits the life of my family like a glove. Our church is liturgical. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the first Sunday of Advent this year, our church had no poinsettias. No Christmas trees or twinkly lights. It had a deep purple altar cloth. It had an Advent wreath. These are almost the same decorations we have right now in our home, though we trade the altar cloth for white twinkly lights on our banister.
There is an ease between church and home which may explain why my children have not yet asked for a tree or for stockings on the mantel. But, in other ways, there is no ease during Advent. There is no fit like a glove.
Advent is irrational, as Madeleine L’Engle described it so well. A comfortable society, a society focused on buying and selling and consuming, doesn’t know what to make of Advent. Jingle Bells and buying gifts, sure. But Mary’s song? She sang of the rich being turned away empty, of the proud being scattered.
During Advent, we remember Mary’s prophetic words, and we remember that it is the humble and the hungry who receive.
Each month I contribute a story over at A Deeper Story. I don’t normally link to those posts here, though I do always share them on facebook and twitter. But my story this month is about Advent, this disjointed season. It is about remembering how wide is the gap, how ill the fit between us and the world.
I hope you’ll click over to read my story there. I’d love to hear your thoughts.