Advent calendars

December 3rd, 2014

Advent calendars: They dole Christmas out glimpse by glimpse. They build up the picture or the story in slow, random-seeming increments they don’t go all the way in one shot. They require pauses. They require little bursts of delight. They require patience.

Advent is about expecting the coming of Christmas, the remembrance of Jesus’ first coming. But it’s also about expecting Jesus’ second coming, the one that he said would straighten up the world, delight the good, open the eyes of the bad and fix everything. It’s about sinking not only into the longing and trepidation of that promise but also into trust that it will be fulfilled.

Since the earliest days, believers and scoffers alike have been asking “Well, why isn’t he back yet?” And they’ve wondered whether it might be that he’s not coming back. The author of Second Peter has an answer for them: He’s not back yet, dear Humankind, not because he’s slow or uninterested or not coming at all, but because he’s giving you time to pull yourself together before he does. Time to practice seeing him in small ways so you’ll recognize him when he arrives in big ones. He’s revealing himself in slow, random-seeming increments, just little glimpses here and there of the picture he’s painting, of the story whose end he is. It’s your job to be patient, to pause, to look and to be prepared for little bursts of delight.

So why don’t you go get to practicing and open that next door on the calendar?

This is an excerpt from “All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas” by Quinn G. Caldwell

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