“I’m ready for Advent,” I told my husband over a week ago.
I didn’t mean I’m ready for Christmas – not yet. I love the Christmas season, from the music to the decorations to the cozy, twinkly evenings in and the anticipation of time with my family. But over the last few years, I’ve also grown to love November, this glorious last gasp of fall before winter sets in. I relish the golden leaves, the achingly blue skies, the slow turning of the year from light to dark (while waiting eagerly for it to turn back again).
The news has been bad for several months now. I suppose the news is always bad, particularly if you go looking for things to worry over. There are always wars and rumors of wars, political unrest in our own country and elsewhere, poverty, famine, natural disasters.
But between the tragedy in Ferguson, the Ebola epidemic, ongoing crises in Syria and Ukraine and elsewhere, and many smaller struggles in my own life and the lives of people I know, it’s been a tough few months. We are – I am – in desperate need of some good news. And this is where Advent comes in.
Every year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we wait for the ultimate good news: the birth of the baby whose life, death and resurrection would divide history into two parts – before and after. The words of the angel still make me well up, even though I’ve heard them a thousand times: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
This is good news of the very best kind: God coming down from heaven, touching earth, making his home among us.
But we have to wait, as the Israelites waited thousands of years for the birth of their Messiah. Every year, we have to wait again. And I’m already impatient to begin that waiting.
I’ll be waiting with the help of some familiar rituals: the singing of “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” the tree-trimming and gift-buying, the reading of a few beloved books. But first I have to wait for Advent to begin. And in that waiting, there is a deep and radiant joy – because I am waiting for what I know is good news.
Advent starts on Nov. 30 this year. I invite you to wait with me.