Advent is a funny season. We know the Christ child was born, yet we still wait for the Christ child to be born. I am reminded every year when the calendar flips to December 1 that I am officially in the season of Advent.
My body knows, it’s in my DNA. The waiting and expectation while also dealing with all things Holiday season. Christmas is my favorite. I love this time of year, despite the tension, and I forego all other holidays to focus my attention on this one. I love it.
Yet, the Advent season is more than Christmas. The Advent season carries with it expectation, longing, wonder – so many things in tension. And many days I have to just sit with it. I have to hold it. I have to hold the transition of Advent.
Transition is ever-present in my life these days. Transition with family, my second child awaiting replies from colleges. Transition with church, anticipating a new job description and responsibilities in the upcoming year. Transition with my spiritual life, learning to let go of expectations and the way it’s always been done. Transition as a citizen, observing the impeachment proceedings knowing we are in an historic time as a nation.
When I’m in transition, I forget. I forget it is only temporary. The darkness and difficulty of transition can be disorienting, like a dark night of the soul, or the pain of grief. But usually transition leads to life, resurrection, birth. This is the cycle of life and change and all things that make us human.
I’m reminded of the cold January night when I was in labor with Claire. Much of my family drove in to await her birth. And sure enough, in typical Claire fashion, she decided January 5 was her day. It’s not normal for babies to show up on their exact due day (whatever that is), but again, Claire is not a normal kid, and here we were.
On this dark Saturday night, everyone was gone except my mom and two-year-old Brooks. As Eric and I prepared our trek to Boulder in the snow, I knew this was the end of the life I had known. Once I exited my tiny, Old Town Longmont home, my life would never be the same. Our little family’s life would never be the same.
I waddled over to Brooks, two watches strapped to my wrist in a feeble attempt to accurately record my contractions. I bent over as best as I could, holding him, kissing him, and crying. The grief of change, holding the tension of losing my former life and anticipating my new life overwhelmed me.
Transitions hurt. Advent hurts.
Wherever you find yourself in this season, please know you’re not alone. This Advent, while fun and celebratory, can also be difficult and confusing and weird, as we hold what was, what is, and what will be.
And yes, the coming Christ child is everything, but He’s really hard to pin down. You know, being all of all the things, being I AM, being the beginning and the end, being Emmanuel – God with Us. It’s a lot.
And it’s okay to be a little bit miserable and little bit happy all at the same time.