The older I become, the more I tend toward a more traditional view of the Christmas season. I used to count down the days to the day after Thanksgiving, because that meant I could get out all my Christmas CDs. Now, I am more selective when it comes to what I listen to in the four weeks before Christmas.
Advent: a period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s coming. We remember how he came to us in the form of an infant; we look forward to the day He returns upon the clouds, leading us into eternal victory. I’m starting to believe that instead of celebrating every day till Christmas, we should treat Advent the way my beloved Episcopals treat Lent.
I come by this view honestly. I blame my father entirely. I will never forget hearing him sing Steven Curtis Chapman’s version of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” several years ago. I cried. Cried for the desperation I heard in the lyrics, for His beloved Israel who somehow missed the gift when it was right there on the cross.
This year, I come before the throne desperate. I see the depths of my sin and I know that there is nothing good in me. I consider myself in an exile of my own. I need a Savior. I am waiting for a rescue.
Maybe it’s because everything bad in my life always happens in December, and this December is no different. But once again I find myself looking to the skies asking the question, “How long?” Yet I need not wait long. Because Christmas is just around the corner, meaning Easter Sunday isn’t far behind.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
O Come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And Death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
He will come to us, as well.
Look beyond the window there
To the sky above, to the open air
Look beyond what you can see
Close your eyes and just believe
The lion roars and the lamb lays down
They live together in a whole new town
They’re calling me and they’re calling you
From the cold hard fact that we’re on our own
To the age old truth that we’re not alone
So don’t be afraid, little warrior bride
Your victory’s on the other side
You’re not alone, you’re not alone