God got me thinking about advent well before Thanksgiving, which is a blessing because I usually think about advent about halfway through and then I sort of feel it’s too late and say. “We’ll get ‘em next year.” (That happens to me during Lent, as well) To aid my advent journey, God also provided me with two companions for my advent journey, two books actually: Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross, and Stations of the Crib by Joe Nassal. Living the Christian Year was a gift from IV Press (one of the perks of still being on IV staff), while Stations of the Crib was a delightful, random find at St. Francis Springs retreat center.
I would highly recommend both of them, for different reasons. Living the Christian Year gives you plenty of Scriptural food for thought, offering 6 different Scriptures each week of advent, and a short meditation on each Scripture. For example, this week’s focus was on lamenting the brokenness of the world, and I have found my heart crying out over the darkness all around, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus,” echoing the haunting cry of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
Stations of the Crib is a powerfully-written call to hope consisting of 15 meditations on the birth of Christ. The writing is simple, beautiful, and it speaks directly to the heart. I have been particularly struck by three meditations: a call to be silent and ponder Christ’s coming, written in response to Zechariah’s forced silence before John’s birth; a call to be hopeful not just for the future, but hopeful for the past, knowing that while we cannot undo our past, Christ’s grace and mercy enables us to see it with hopeful eyes; and a call to let Jesus interrupt the hurry of life, to get in our way and force us to deal with the presence of this holy one who has come.
In some ways I feel pressure to have an “aha” experience, to be able to write down “Advent 2009 was about FILL IN THE BLANK.” But this morning the Lord reminded me that advent is about creating space for Him to fill our soul more and more fully, to birth something new that might not be immediately seen or understood, yet would be present and real all the same. And so I will continue to wait.