There's a lot of people in my neighbourhood that have been waiting for this day for a looooonnnngggg time. A long time.
What day you ask?
Well, it's a bit arbitrary, but the day I'm talking about is the socially acceptable day (or week) to start turning on the Christmas lights, playing the season's tunes, and getting giddy about Christmas. I think we're there...it's about a month out, the temperatures dropped weeks ago, and it's dark by 5pm.
Starbucks started celebrating on November 1 like clockwork (ps - their red cups are perfectly fine!) Someone told me they saw Christmas decorations in Costco in August. And some folks in my neighbourhood have had their Christmas tree, sparkly lights, and decorations up for weeks.
And to be honest, I'm cool with the whole thing for this one reason.
No, it's not because I need to hear Bing Crosby croon about a White Christmas immediately after I get Michael Jackson's Thriller out of my head. In fact, I have a personal policy to not decorate and listen to Christmas music until at least November 25...one month before Christmas.
THE REASON WHY I'M OKAY WITH THIS EARLY ATTEMPT TO CELEBRATE AND SOAK IN THE SEASON IS BECAUSE I THINK IT IS REALLY ALL ABOUT HOPE.
I think people are hoping, and waiting, and wanting something special to happen.
This year (like most years), their looking for the mysterious and the magical to sweep them away. I think we all are.
It's as if there is something in all of us that is craving the beautiful, peaceful and sweet - and who wouldn't? One look a the news cycle over this past season is enough to tempt us into a dark pit.
We recognize beauty and things that ring true when we see it the same way we repel the ugly and broken. It's in our bones.
We want something that seems too good to be true, to actually be true. And this holiday season taps into that.
We want the snow to fall softly and perfectly. We want the hot cocoa by the fire to calm us. We want the mistletoe to be firing on all cylinders and be fully operational (!), and we want a table full of our family and friends to fill the house with laughter. Isn't every single Christmas movie about the quest for the "perfect" Christmas and all the conflict to overcome to get it?
All of this is a nod to something we deeply long and hope for.
WE ALL NEED THE MIRACLE.
This season is known as Advent, and if you look it up, you’ll find words like, arrival, start, beginning and dawn.
I think we should add the word, “promise.”
The Advent season is like a balloon. It holds what is unseen. Like the latex orb that carries invisible air, these are the days where we wrap our minds and hearts around the hidden promise that something better will come.
We wait in the dark, longing for the light.
Sure, most people may not be able to articulate this as they order their Gingerbread Latte, but this whole season is saturated in the hope that we need a beautiful, miraculous promise to actually come true. I need it. You need it. Our neighbours need it.
We all long for the miraculous to break in and change things.
- We long for love to bust in and heal this messed up world.
- We long for peace to saturate the darkest corners of the globe and the shadows in our hearts.
- We long for the purest joy to bubble over and drive out our fear.
Christmas is the celebration of Jesus's arrival - The Christ breaking into real space and time, showing us what God is like in ways we can touch, feel and know.
He tells us that he's got the the answer to our longing.
He's the one who broke into our dark world and pierced it with a new way of thinking and being - it's a beautiful way and a light one too.
This new beginning has already cracked open. Shades of love have already been seen, echoes of peace have been heard, and vibrations of joy have been felt.
I believe this is why we celebrate. This is why we love the twinkly lights and the traditions. This is why we set apart the season - because deep down our hearts recognize what is good, and true, and right - and we long for it ALL to be made right.
We keep being drawn to the light because this is where we belong. We keep waiting for the promise to come true.
Here are a few great ADVENT resources you might want to check out:
- The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the full love story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
- The Work of the People (they've got lots of resources to check out)