Advent means “arrival” but it’s not a finite action. A better understanding is “coming into view.” It’s like when you’re flying in and you see the city lights of your destination, but not necessarily the runway yet. It’s almost there. You know you will reach it.
Advent is the season of waiting; waiting to celebrate Christ’s birth as we wait for Christ to enter our world and our lives in a new way. After two thousand years, this practice of waiting can become rote, bogged down with the way we have always done things, either at home or at church. Traditions are there to help us remember and to teach us to be ready for what is to come. When the tradition becomes the focus, instead of the teaching method to help us, we may have lost sight of what it is we are waiting for.
But again, we misunderstand waiting. This is not a passive action, but an active waiting, a participating in the world to prepare the world for what is to come. The scriptures tell us that “now is the time to wake from sleep” (Romans 13:11). We are called to wake up from our weariness of the world, and participate in God’s reign on earth now, even as we are waiting for it to come.
We read passages from the prophets, the stories of John the Baptist, the tales of Mary and Joseph and Elizabeth and Zechariah. All the things, all the stories, all the people that came before to prepare the way, so that we might be reminded this is our work, too.
The voice is crying out from the wilderness to us, “prepare the way of the Lord!”
Are you ready? All earth is waiting!
May you have a wonderful and joyous Christmas celebration, but may we remember that the work of Christ is beginning to come into view. There is more ahead.
Blessings to you in the waiting.
Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell