While Christmas marks the end of the year for most of us, Advent marks the beginning of the year for Christians–the liturgical year that is. Advent is a season of expectant waiting, a time in which followers of Jesus prepare yet again for His incarnation and await the celebration of His coming. Immanuel, God with us. This theological reality is soon forgotten once the season passes and the busyness of life presses in, overtaking what may have been the most joyous period of the year for many (and admittedly the most painful for others).
But what happens when Advent becomes a part of life and not just one month out of the year? Being that Advent is a season of waiting, it seems that much of life is an Advent in its own right. I think of my current situation. I am waiting. I am eager. I am expectant. What will I do vocationally? Who will I become in the process? And the hundreds of questions that play accompanying roles. I’m waiting. On God. On the Spirit. On the Christ.
Yet when Advent moves into every day life, rarely does it bear the same joyous expectancy it did throughout the Christmas season. Perhaps it’s because the lights come down and the tree is gone and the carols are no more. But perhaps it is because we, and I mean me, do not intentionally remind ourselves of the Incarnation outside of Christmas. The Lord is Immanuel regardless of the date on the calendar or the sermon at church. The Lord is Immanuel in the days ahead that we’ve never been but will one day be. The Lord is Immanuel when we await word for a job, for ‘the one’ we’ll wed, for the doctor’s call.
God with us. Regardless of the month. Whether lights adorn trees or garland our banisters, Immanuel. I am waiting for more than God’s incarnation in this Advent season. I join those saints who walked the way of waiting long ago, and I suspect I am not alone. May God grant us the obedience to wait well.