We are on the road again! The weeks that lie ahead of us, offer a wonderful opportunity to slow down, reflect and truly take in the gift that is central to Christmas.
Already, there are ads everywhere, even in the parish bulletin, about Christmas markets, dinners concerts and more. In themselves, they are all good and truly welcome but there seems, at times, something less than it should be in rushing into Christmas when, as a church, we are asked to celebrate Advent.
This is not about being a spoilsport or, hopefully, anything even close to that, but rather about letting time have its moment. Think of a birthday celebration that might be ahead of you – may be one of those significant birthdays like a 21st or 40th. The date may be some time ahead, maybe in January – maybe even December 25th but you could not imagine people wishing you a happy birthday today.
The date of the birthday is the occasion to be anticipated, marked and fully celebrated. It is when the day arrives, the celebrations begin. For now, there may well be plans in place for a party, maybe even invitations going out but the day has not arrived and to speak of the birthday now seems unimaginable, other than to look forward to it.
So, where are we with Advent? The ads and notices have their story to tell. The events planned are well-intentioned and will, please God, be very enjoyable but there is somewhere a need, to hold back a little and allow this season to speak for itself. This week we light the first candle on our Advent Wreath.
We could not imagine lighting them all – yes, of course, we could do that, but it would make little or no sense. The Advent Wreath speaks of a journey, a journey of waiting and a journey with a very clear and vital destination, the story that is Christmas and the reality that is Christ.
For now, let Advent be Advent.