December is here! The first day of advent and I can feel the anticipation inside myself. The unexplainable joy! We are closer to the unwrapping of the gift. And don’t we all love unwrapping gifts?
The first day of advent has always been a day of wonder. Of excitement. Of hope for what is come. The coming of the King of light and life.
Every year I enter advent with the best of intentions: I’m gonna put the focus in the right place this year. I’m not gonna get caught up in the hoopla and distractions. I’m gonna be good, and do good. But as the dark days of December come and go, the busyness of the season overwhelms my senses. My selfish tendencies begin to take the lead as we get closer to the day of wonder. I make Christmas more and more about myself. And by mid month, the quiet, undemanding gentleness of advent has been abandoned.
Advent does not fight for my attention. It’s not loud and overbearing like the other characteristics of the season. In fact, it’s only in the slowing down that I can hear the unassuming coo of the babe. The gentle whisper of the gift that is coming. No hype. No shiny bows or black Friday flash sales. Just the simplest part of me coming to kneel in the humble barn.
The straw under my knees. The smell of livestock. The cold air. It’s not really how I would choose to do this. How I would give a Christmas gift. But only the best gifts, the most miraculous of moments, can pierce my heart like the unassuming ones. The unexpected.
I come without perfection. I come, knowing I’m not enough. Knowing I wouldn’t have chosen this barn as the place to open my Christmas gift. Knowing my heart is easily persuaded by the hype and the glitter. But I kneel down, and I look with wonder at the babe who chose less to birth the greatest gift.
I quiet myself and all the chatter in my head about how I will screw this up again this year. How I will forget this holy place. And I just sit still. Forget about myself for a while. Slow my breathing down. Slow the moment down.
This is advent. Oh come let us adore Him. Just come.