I have a love-hate relationship with Advent. I love it while inevitably, most of my congregation either doesn't understand it or hates it. I found the argument condensed in a liturgical resource I was looking up this morning. Here is the conversation:
I hate waiting for anything and anyone!
Me too! I'm an "instant" kind of person, you know, everything instantly, like instant coffee, instant food, instant celebrations!
...the story was read about John the Baptist, but I'm ready for the baby Jesus. What's this waiting all about? I want Christmas right now! (from the Cokesbury free resources for Advent 2B)
It's as if the waiting and the anticipation is so deadly dull that we can't expect anyone to find anything in it--like the desert wasteland of experience in this experience-driven society.
But I was reading again a different resource that reminded me thusly:
"The word 'advent' comes from the Latin adventus, which, for the Romans meant the coming of the emperor. It generally refers to the coming of something important or expected. The word's roots are ad, meaning 'to' or 'toward,' and venio, meaning 'to come'. Advent became an official season of the church calendar under Pope Gegory VII, as a spiritual preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. It is interesting to note that the word 'adventure' also comes from those roots."--Katie Cook
Is there adventure to be found in anticipation? Is there adventure even to be found in waiting? I'm reminded of the many things I have waited for in my life--to celebrate my birthday on the day, to open presents not before Christmas Day, to get married before I lived with someone, to consecrate the elements for communion only after I was given pemission. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just a little bit more rule-driven than I ought to be (I think about the time when I flatly refused to wear a stole because I hadn't been ordained yet).
But at the same time, I have had adventures because of my willingness to wait--adventures that I might have cut myself off from otherwise. There is adventure in waiting to purchase something until you have the money. There is adventure in living life as it is now...not as it will someday be. There is adventure and creativity in living out the days before Christmas as they are, instead of how they will be.
What adventures have you had while waiting? Where has God blessed you in anticipation?
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