I just don't feel like Advent today. I don't have time to sit in the velvet darkness and contemplate some wonderful silence. I don't feel Jesus coming. I'm not in touch with any promise or vision. I have absolutely no idea what Isaiah means by “preparing a way,” and even less idea about that crazy John the Baptist jumping around in the desert with grass in his hair. I don't know what it means to “make of my heart an open manger.” I'm just not there. I'm busy, tired and distracted. I haven't set up my stupid little Advent wreath; the candles lie in their stupid little box in the closet, under a lot of stuff. You're starting to bug me. All the spiritual hype about repentance and transformation sounds to me just like the crap from Macy's about how I need to buy their stuff. I've done Christmas before. I know what to expect. I bet I'm going to be just fine in January like I am now. So I'm just going to go right on with my ordinary little life here, OK? Whatever is in my soul, I'm not handing it over. It's nothing special, anyway, nothing devout and holy. It's clenched inside, plain and undeserving, and fine with that. I'm fine. I just want nice presents and a good dinner with the kids. That's all. So if you're going to break in on my world, it's up to you. If you're going to do some wacky Gabriel thing with me, knock yourself out. Go ahead and make flesh turn into heaven, and a plain human life divine. If you're going to come into my life, don't wait for me. Just do what you do, you know, behind our backs and unasked for and all that. Go right ahead. Just do your thing. OK? Please? Amen.
Do you ever feel this way about Advent? That you are just too busy to stop and prepare the way for the Christ child? And you have no time for any spiritual, even reading Barb's quick devotionals on the CUMC Facebook page? I feel that way many times this Advent- especially when I scroll past Barb's posts in my FB notifications. What does it mean to prepare a way for Jesus in my heart when I am on the bus going somewhere, or doing laundry?
For me, what helps with the Advent Blahs is singing Christmas carols (or if I'm on the bus, listening to them on my iPhone YouTube app). Perhaps I have a million things to do after I have pre-treated this load of laundry or put away these groceries. Yet as I do these small, mundane tasks, the act of singing about Christ's birth helps keep me in the Advent frame of mine. OK, so perhaps singing carols is liturgically incorrect, since technically the Christ child hasn't arrived yet. But it works for me, and that's what's important.
What might you do to help you prepare the way for Jesus in your heart, even in the midst of this hectic season?
Photo credit: Martin Stockley