My husband and I are currently navigating the waters between receiving an offer to purchase on our house and the date when everything is finalized and the deal is sealed. It’s an anxious time of document retrieval, home inspection, financing approval, and countless sleepless nights contemplating hundreds of “what if” scenarios. We’re anxious to rush from the first day the For Sale sign went up to the day we watch burly movers manhandling our possessions on their way to a new home.
The same seems to happen with virtually any special event on our calendars: weddings, birthdays, vacations…and it happens with Advent, too. We rush to get Christmas decorations up, start singing along with carols on the radio on November 12, and focus on Christmas Day while bemoaning the rapid transit of the days leading up to the birth of our Saviour.
I think these situations exemplify a mindset which is endemic in our society: impatience and a desire to rush to the destination without savouring the journey. We’ve become so accustomed to instantaneous gratification of every whim that we’ve lost all sense of gratitude for the liminal space between our present presence and our future existence.
Advent invites us to recall with gratitude each relationship which has brought meaning to our lives as we write greeting cards. Quiet smiles and full hearts recall the memory behind each ornament hung on the tree and each family tradition faithfully re-enacted.
And just like moving, Advent offers us time to declutter and downsize, letting go of things we no longer need to carry, and imagine a world and a life different than the one we see around us.
The Big Day will come, whether it be moving day, Christmas Day, or any other event in our lives we long for impatiently. Let us try to remember that the growth and change that happens inside us during the liminal time of waiting is not a process to rush, but to savour. May your entire Christmas season, from Advent through to Epiphany, be filled with revelations and growth.
The Rev. Janet Taylor Minister, Braeside Church, St Albert & Interim Moderator, Sherwood Park Church).