The following is a reflection by President Favara this advent season.
I do not know what this season has been like for you, but here on campus it has been downright stressful at times, and these past few weeks were a mad rush toward the end of the semester. Due to the ongoing existence of the pandemic, we decided to once again close the semester at Thanksgiving. So, you can imagine – between papers, finals, gatherings, grades, meetings, Thanksgiving preparations, getting students home, etc. the emergence of the Advent season comes at a time when we are all still trying to catch our breath, cleaning up from one holiday, as we prepare for the next.
Yet – Advent is here. Like it or not – it is here.
Normally, I welcome it’s arrive. I really enjoy Advent. I revel in the sweet anticipation of the coming Christmastide, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, as we also reflect on promised second coming.
Decking the halls and trimming the tree have always been sources of great joy and comfort.
However, this year I am just tired –pooped out, bushed, knackered, spent, worn-out, washed-out, frazzled – in other words – plain weary.
This last month has literally drained the charm that normally is evident as Advent begins. I all but drug the Christmas tree out of the rafters, barely fluffing the branches as I set it up (which is a major no-no in our home). There are still containers of décor waiting for placement – décor that is normally hung on Thanksgiving weekend. Rather than finding more boxes to decorate with, I am hiding boxes from the First Lady in hopes she has forgotten about them.
What can I say – All of my get up and go seems to have gotten up and gone!
I wonder – was it much the same way in the days prior to angels appearing to the shepherds? Had the march of time and the demands of existence eroded the joy and expectation that might normally come with a time set aside to reflect on a coming Messiah? Were the shepherds in the field simply being dutiful in their obligations, but perhaps lacked the anticipatory expectation that this year could be the year?
Maybe – maybe not.
However, I am intrigued by the thought that we are not the only participants in Advent. Regardless of our avenue to Advent, regardless of our approach, there are other guests to the season.
Think about it – yes, perhaps the people of Israel were exhausted from their continued run-ins with other rulers and principalities, or were just fatigued from waiting over a thousand years – but in heaven – imagine the anticipation. Don’t forget, we were not the only ones that were waiting. For over a thousand years, all of heaven waited for that one night – anticipating the glorious expression of God’s great love for creation, when He would pierce through the darkness and bring worth to our souls, pining for meaning and value. I can almost image the scene, with the Son asking the Father – “Are we there yet? Is it time?”
Thinking this way has provided me a whole new perspective of Advent. Why? Because I have come to realize that God celebrates Advent too. He too waits and anticipates. He too, enters in and joins the festivities – commemorating that night when love broke through, and anticipating another day yet to come.
Knowing this totally transforms my current state. For regardless of how dog-tired I am, the thought that God doggedly desires to celebrate this season too – well that is enough to invigorate any moment – melting away the fatigue, worry, apprehension, fear – or whatever else that tries to interrupt our Advent. Knowing that God is my guest, and that He too rollicks in the revelry of the season – well – that knowledge has a transformative effect – turning zonked into zing, exhaustion into exultation, and fatigue into felicity, and burn-out into joyous bliss.
So, whatever your state of mind this Advent – Don’t forget that God celebrates with you! He enters into these moments with us; walking with us; celebrating with us; resting with us; waiting with us.
Let the knowledge of His presence dominate and define your Advent and coming Christmastide.
Original article published here.