Advent is the first season of the new year for those of us who are followers of Jesus the Christ. It marks the beginning of another opportunity to allow even the way we order our lives and our time to be oriented around the life of the Godhead. In the patterns of these seasons we are reminded to live in the flow of the life of the Trinity, to live and function according to God’s story, remembering that God is the central character and we are supporting participants.
So we begin this new year with God by celebrating Advent – a season marked by waiting and anticipation. We wait with anticipation for God to act, filled with hope remembering that God is still moving.
We also discover a natural longing is stirred within us. Our hearts and minds cry out with all of creation in longing and yearning for Christ to come and bring perfect peace to everything.
Fortunately, we have been reminded that in the midst of our waiting and longing, there is also a deep joy, a simcha that God wants to give us that undergirds all of it. And when we are willing to accept the gift of Joy, we discover we are filled with a sense of wonder.
We wonder at the simple things of the season – lights, carols, hot chocolate, time with friends and family. We wonder at the power of a smile or a kind word, and how exciting it can be to be a child at this time of the year! The deep Joy of God fills us with a sense of holy awe and reverence.
But that Joy also gives us the freedom to let our minds wonder. Will the tree fall over this year? Will Aunt Susie send me a fruitcake again? Where did all this traffic come from? And if we are willing to let wonder wander a little farther, we might even wonder: Why did God decide to come as a baby? What must Mary and Joseph been feeling as they travelled to Bethlehem? Just how much must God love us to actually enter into our world in flesh and blood?
And as we allow our hearts to be filled with awe and wonder, and our minds to wonder about things that might not even have an answer, we are brought back around to the deep Joy that undergirds all of it. Joy let’s us wonder, and wonder reinforces God’s Joy.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79