We have officially entered the Christmas season. Mercy staff Mickenzie is offering her thoughts on Advent and how she is approaching it differently than in years past. Seeking to slow down and consciously choose joy she is eager to sit in the weight of anticipation this season brings.
- “The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.”
Synonyms: arrival, appearance, emergence, materialization, occurrence, dawn, birth, rise, development.
- The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays
- The coming or second coming of Christ.
The Advent Season is upon us. It is a season culminated with the celebration of Christ’s birth and one that sometimes gets engulfed in to-do lists and busyness.
Christmas time holds a special place in my heart. Simply mentioning the word sends a tingle of excitement down my spine. While I am easily swept up into the tradition and sparkle of Christmas – the lights, the treats, shopping for the perfect present, visiting family, decorating my house, etc. – I also love Christmas for the promise that it holds. Christmas is an entire season of anticipation.
There is a mysterious feeling of anticipation that I only feel during Christmas time. I look forward to Christmas for much of the year, eagerly awaiting the appropriate time to begin my Christmas shopping and play Christmas music, both of which often begin well before I intend. I have found however, that when I am in the midst of the actual Christmas season, my response to the feeling of anticipation is to get busy. I hurry through it, sometimes missing what I have been anticipating all year long.
I don’t want to do that this year. This Advent Season I’m committing to slowing down in order to fully feel the weight of anticipation. In this effort, I want to focus on the significance that the arrival of Christ holds for my daily life. Sitting in anticipation is uncomfortable and risky. It’s exhilarating and hopeful…at first. Then it just leaves us weary. The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
Just like the Israelites, we long for the coming of Christ, both in celebration of His first coming and in anticipation for His second coming. But waiting can become tiring and vulnerable. We begin to do in order to distract ourselves from the discomfort we feel in our unmet expectancy. Perhaps we schedule another holiday outing, or add a few more people to our Christmas list, or vow to serve in one more capacity for our church Christmas program, all in an effort to temper our anticipation. It ultimately just produces chaos in our lives and can put a damper on the Christmas season.
When Jesus arrives, the weary world rejoices! His arrival meets our longing and brings us more than we could ask or imagine. If we’re not careful, we can become too consumed with preparing for His arrival and miss the celebration of our met longings.
So my encouragement to myself, and to you, my friend, as we approach all that this season holds, is to choose calm and celebrate in anticipation.
We have much to reflect on and celebrate, and we have much to wait in joyful anticipation for.
(In case you need a reminder, we’ve created a phone background and a computer background to help you to choose calm in anticipation this Advent Season. Enjoy!)