This year I am trying to participate in the Advent season, which takes place over the four weeks before Christmas. “Advent” means “coming.” Since the theme of my work is finding beauty in the brokenness, I was drawn to Advent’s bringing of together two seemingly contradictory things–hope and sorrow. We are invited to long for the beauty of Christ’s coming even as we look honesty at the brokenness of the world and our hearts.
“The Advent season encourages us to resist denial and face our situation as it really is. It might be said of Advent that it is not for the faint of heart. To grasp the depth of the human predicament, one has to be willing to enter into the very worst.”–Fleming Rutlege, Advent
Can I avoid the pitfalls of both sentimentality and cynicism? The news media seems to foster both. Since I am uncomfortable with the reality of a broken world and my broken self, the alarming news stories prime me for consumer products and escape.
We world is indeed dark, dangerous, and divided. However, we wait in hope for Jesus Christ to make things new. The darkness we’ve been experiencing will not have the last word:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1-2)
A common Advent tradition is to make a wreath with candles. I made one out of copper tubing.
Last Sunday, November 29th, I lit the first of four candles. It is a tangible way to acknowledge the darkness as I wait in the hope for the coming of the Light of the world. The fifth candle will be lit on Christmas when I’ll celebrate the first coming of Jesus–God made human. The Beautiful Intruder.
In this series of blogs I will share with you some prayers, songs, and reflections on the meaning of Advent, and hopefully some of how my heart becomes more alive.
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