“What the heck is Advent?” This was not the question that I expected on December 1st when we started this adventure of living by the seasons of the church. But I could tell that my 13 year old was sincere. I had clearly not explained it to her in the way that I thought I had.
I grew up in a Presbyterian church on Sunday and an Episcopal school during the week. I understood the seasons of the church because I lived them. So when Genevieve was a very little girl it seemed a natural fit to take a job as the Children’s Ministries Director at the Episcopal Church that we were attending. Since Gen was only a year old and she tagged along with me, I took for granted that most of what I was teaching and doing was sinking in the way it did for me growing up. I was wrong.
So that first night we had a crash course in Advent. Advent simply means “coming”. I explained that the entire Christmas season is to be a time of celebration and planning for the advent, or coming, of Jesus. After a little discussion, my daughter looked at me and said, “We are waiting for Him, just like Mary waited for Him.” She got it.
My favorite definition calls it “a time of expectant waiting”. Doesn’t that bring the absolute beauty of the season home? Especially for a mother? Can’t we just imagine those 9 long months that Mary spent waiting for the birth of her baby? The baby she was told would be “Christ, the Lord”. Little more that a child herself she would be giving birth to the One who would one day deliver those who would choose to believe in Him.
In my home we are reveling in this time of expectant waiting. We anticipate our daily Scripture readings. I anxiously await hearing from Genevieve how she welcomed Jesus that day or how the meaning of the message we shared really hit her as she was with friends or as she was sitting in her Bible study class. And my absolute favorite part of the day is when I hear my sweet Charlie’s voice whispering in my ear the words “We welcome your light, Lord Jesus” each night when we light our candle. She is a girl of few words and so these feel especially sweet coming from her.
Already, after just one week, this is becoming a treasured part of our day. This time to slow down, to remember, to reflect on the words spoken by our Savior is changing us. This season feels more poignant than it has before. And my prayers are focused on asking that we will be more accountable, more faithful and more hopeful for the coming of the Second Advent.