My husband and I
have begun to have a wider perspective
not just critiquing the holiday consumeristic spirit
but also reflecting how best we can celebrate a tradition dear to us:
Growing up, I knew Christmas, and Christmas Eve,
and then the excitement before punctuated by
cookies, songs, and snow.
About ten years ago, I began marking the tradition of Advent
(which I knew as starting in early December and marked by an expectant waiting before Christmas Day)
when formally studying theology and hearing about it.
Prior to that, I had no idea what it was,
why I'd mark something that technically already happened
(Christ was born thousands of years ago)
and how that related to my world today.
But I embarked on the journey,
though I had little understanding.
And with each year since,
something quiet and small
whispers through time
and settles in and around me each late autumn.
Advent beckons me to behold a mystery--
both the arrival of this Messiah that fulfilled history and changed eternity
and also the promised day when all will be made new
to the fullest when he comes again.
When there will be no wars,
no three-year-old Syrian refugee in need of peace, love, and laughter.
Last year, we began to mark Celtic Advent--
which 'formally starts' mid-Nov thru to Christmas Day
(or 40 days before Dec 25)
and we loved it.
Change and perspective
started with each of us.
And we understand it as
living out of the hope
that is real, pregnant and full,
here but not yet.
Anticipating what is to come,
what did come and what will come.
So, this weekend, we started to mark Advent,
by putting up our tree
in mid-November couched in a greater perspective:
As the lovely Ann Voskamp points out in her book,
The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas
one has to see the lineage of Jesus' family tree before
there can be any real Christmas tree--the family line
was where you came from, your identity, who you were and are.
They were the branches who came before you.
And in those times, that was all of your identity.
There may not have been a lot of hope around.
And as someone promised to redeem all of humankind
regardless of tradition,
the fact that this little prince would come not from
the wealthy and the rich,
the elite and the ones with legacies,
but from a line of
(who were mentioned in the lineage
at a time when they were invisible!),
and affirmed all as good,
all as worthy,
and all as loveable
is truly good news.
Come let us adore him
who scoops up life and proclaims that all matter.
And so, we do have our tree up,
and it is beautiful,
but we do so in the stand of living water,
renewing a symbol of hope.
With peace and love and grace,
Bird & Babe has a new seasonal newsletter to mark Advent comprised of daily, contemplative readings from a variety of sources and authors. Please scroll up and hit the subscribe tab if interested. x