Beware, keep alert;f] for you do not know when the time will come
Advent is one of my favorite seasons in our church calendar (and not just because my hair color finally changes after the long green season!)
I love Advent!
What I love about Advent, about these four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is that it’s a time for us to wait. The Gospel text from Mark this week is an interesting one, but it leaves us with a reminder that as we begin this season, we begin this season of anxious waiting.
And there’s a lot of anxiety around the Christmas season – shopping, decorating, cooking, preparing, missing family members, experiencing losses, recognizing needs of those around us. There’s a reason they say the holiday season is stressful. Regardless of the prep work for the holidays – this is a season of anxiety.
And so on Advent 1 – on the first Sunday of Advent, when we light a candle to symbolize “hope”, I wonder. I wonder how we might hear words of beware and uncertainty and allow them to give us hope in the midst of our holiday anxiety?
Because really, as we look towards Christmas, we are looking towards Jesus’s birth. And it’s this birth of hope embodied in a tiny baby that we are keeping alert for.
And this hope, this child, is the one who brings us something new. So that maybe we don’t have to be anxious. So that maybe in our anxiety we can lean in. That might be leaning in to the craziness of this holiday season. Or it might be leaning in to taking breaks and rests. Sometimes the greatest hope we can find on this first Sunday in Advent – is a hope for space to breathe amidst all the holiday chaos.
What anxieties are you feeling this time of year? How do you find hope during the holidays? How are you “staying alert” for the birth of Jesus?