The middle candle of the Advent wreath sits waiting. The boys watch it, asking which day they can light it. Is Christmas Eve too soon? Yes, too soon; too soon for Advent.
Like the boys, we parents want that light to be lit, now, in their hearts. And in the world we are sending them out into, still too young. Light shining in darkness. Are they ready for that? Advent is a time for preparation. Chistmas…gifts, and cards, and baking. Are we preparing for the right thing? We make time to look at the words of the prophets, the work of John the Baptist, Mary, fitting in the candles (one more every week). So much to prepare for as Christmas approaches, as they approach the world.
I told the boys the story of my baptism, as Lent turned into Easter. It was during a late-night service called Easter Vigil. On Good Friday the church was darkened and closed, to be kept silent in remembrance-and preparation. Then, as Saturday turned into Sunday, the priest entered holding a candle high, the only source of illumination in the church, and calling out “the Light of the World!”
Advent and Lent aren’t so far apart, really. But neither Christmas nor Easter is the end of the story, and we remind the boys that we are again waiting, just like the prophets and Wise Men, John the Baptist, and all the others we read about during Advent. We’re waiting with those last few words in the Bible on our lips: Come, Lord Jesus.