“Why God didn’t You show me this book in early December when I went in search of an Advent book? AND…..I know your timing is perfect for me.”
I wrote these words last year in late December on the first page of a book I had just purchased.
The book offered a daily reading beginning December 1st with an activity to coincide. It felt like just what I’d been longing for; guidance through December with places for my heart to renew and relive the Christmas story feeling the excitement of an innocent child unfolding the gift for the first time.
It was too late to begin now. The book went on the shelf. I saw it as I reached for other books. I wanted to pick it up. Temptation was held at bay. I waited.
“The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.” Frederick Buechner
The time has come for the book and my Advent journey through this December.
I couldn’t know a year ago the journey I would travel over the past months. God is kind with me. He doesn’t allow me to read the next chapters before they unfold in my life. Some of those chapters bring a smile to my face; family gatherings, laughter and celebrations, sweet time with friends. Other chapters leave me wanting to coil in a fetal position, begging God to write a different ending, to allow me to walk down a different path. Places where I felt deeply alone and abandoned by God. As I look back now I am aware of the places I abandoned God and myself. It seemed easier than allowing myself to feel the emotions of disappointment, loss and uncertainty. Maybe easier, but not kind to myself. I am focusing on kindness to myself these days.
I sense you are with me. You have your chapters of the past year that bring a sweet remembrance of good things. There are places where your heart seizes, the tears flow, the disappointment raw and real again as you remember the disappointment and losses you have known.
Advent, the coming – what is coming this December? There will be the traditions. The tree standing in the corner, decorated with white lights and ornaments. Each ornament tells a story. We will celebrate with traditional foods and family gatherings. There will be the choosing of gifts and offering of them. But first our tradition of the reading of the Christmas story.
I’m wanting a new tradition this advent just for me. The lighting of a candle feels sacred. I have chosen some special candles I will light. I want to invite His light into each day, spending a quiet time pondering advent and what is to come for me next year. To feel the warmth of His story yet to be told through me as I sit quietly close to the candlelight.
My heart has places of hurt as I begin my Advent. Friends who were healthy a year ago have struggled through life-changing medical issues. Some won’t have to ponder the majesty of Christ. They are with Him. We miss them. Their journey here on Mother Earth has finished and their flight has taken them safely Home. The news brings daily word of wars and atrocities, frightening disease and heinous acts of violence against all ages.
But Advent is coming. It is promised. It is a fresh hope. It’s as mystical as the Christmas story of a baby born of a virgin, conceived by immaculate conception. A young mother kissing the face of an innocent newborn son, at the same time kissing the face of Her Savior.
My candle is lit, my book is open, beside it a journal chosen especially for this time and a pen ready to record my thoughts.
Is there a special candle and journal you might choose to record those sacred moments as we begin Advent together and the celebration of what is yet to come for each of us?
Valerie Avery treasures the journey of embracing all God has gifted her with including creating art and beauty using fibers, beads and nature. The bond of 46 years of marriage has created a legacy as mother to 5 and “Grammie” to 20. She is venturing into the world of writing and is grateful for a place to share stories of growth and hope. You can read more here.