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As I write, the pensive and quiet notes of George Winston’s album December play. Though released before I was born, his work holds a special place in my holiday memories. My mom would often play it this time of year as she washed dishes, wrote Christmas letters, or took time to read. His playing is full of life and movement but also captures the melancholy of shortening days and dying light.
It is for me a perfect encapsulation of the season of Advent. More than a countdown for Christmas, Advent is a time of pensive reflection. It is a time that is fallow, quiet, muted. We prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, sure, but Advent makes room for that liminal space between Christmas and New Creation, between Jesus’ first and second coming. It gives space for that holy longing in between these events, when it feels like hope is short and the light is dying.
I love the season of Advent because it’s real. It’s the space we live in most of the time. Hoping, waiting, longing, weary in our souls. I love the season of Advent because it takes that seriously. Jesus has come and is coming and that is world changing but everything is not as it should be. I love the season of Advent most of all because it is hopeful, but also takes seriously the darkness that surrounds. It doesn’t try to minimize it or explain it away. Instead in the season of Advent we are invited to look to the light that does not die, but shines in that darkness and is not overcome.
If you find yourself a bit out of sync with the Holiday Spirit that is in the air and in every store and every ad, know that Advent is for you. Know that it is a time, though tempered by grief, sadness, or longing, ultimately of hope. I pray you will take time to be fallow, quiet, muted. Perhaps join us for our Longest Night Service later this month or turn on some George Winston. Whatever it is, know that in this season, we give witness to and celebrate hope, a light that shines in that darkness and is not overcome.
As Ever in Christ,