the one where i prepare room. (or, advent is an open door)

i’m wearing a sweater today that features a spectacle-wearing fox, so you could say today is pretty good.

i’m drinking an iced coffee-egg nog concoction, so you could say today is just great.

i have polka dots on my skirt (polka dots AND a spectacle-wearing fox?! yes. YES.), so yeah, today is alright.

christmas is in 9 days, over 90% of the shopping is finished, and the house is all christmafied, so you could say today is perfectly peachy.

for some reason, the advent and christmas seasons are incredibly emotionally charged for me this year. yes, the last two years around this time was also difficult; but this year is different. last year was less raw than the one before, and much was overshadowed by sarah’s homecoming (in related news, she’s been home for a year now!). there was still an ache there- anniversaries of events that left their mark on me, but thankfully not the raw, bleeding heart that i was the year before. this year there is still an ache- a bone-deep, nearly constant, weariness- that i cannot seem to shake. but i’m beginning to wonder if the ache is the point.

advent is about acknowledging that something isn’t right at the deepest levels of us, about longing for the fulfillment of promises made to our father’s fathers long ago, about choosing to look ahead and believe that the light will come … and that it’s brightness will overcome all the darkness. advent is “how long, Lord?”, it is “can you see me? do you hear us?”, and it is all the pent-up tears that well up when we see the long years of hope deferred. bonhoeffer said “The celebration of advent is possible only to those troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” advent is “let every heart prepare Him room”.

christmas, though, is something different altogether. christmas is the birth of Hope, the dawning of the Light, it is “Now, my beloved- I am coming now.” christmas is “I hear you. I am the God who sees.” christmas is Christ becoming us in every way, so that He could save us in every way. christmas is the arrival of the One we have been waiting for- the fulfillment of promises made to Adam, Abraham, Jacob, David, the prophets and the people. christmas is that ‘something greater to come’. christmas is “joy to the world- the LORD is come!”

sister & i are doing weekly advent reading together, in the midst of all the hullabaloo that is december. we take turns reading and we invite each other to engage with hope and wrestle with longing. i’m also reading the #shereadstruth advent plan each day (side note: this is the first [and probably only] devotional written for women that i would endorse. i commend it to my small group ladies and repost content on a regular basis. LOVE it, and so thankful for this resource!), and the sermons at my church lately have had me neck-deep in luke 1 & 2. prepare Him room, indeed.

but preparing room is difficult and dirty work. preparing room is prying open the shutters on the darkest, most locked down places in me, and flooding them with Light. preparing room is confronting the fears that keep me hopeless, being willing to question my own doubts, and throwing open the door even though i don’t get to control who walks through it.

all the thoughts. all the fears. but … all the joy. there is room for all of it in Him.

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