Today, the Christian year ends. Tomorrow, December 1, is the first Sunday of Advent. It is also the end of the month of writing for many people: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) to name a couple of challenges.
I hadn’t participated in NaBloPoMo in several years and decided to come back and try it again. I didn’t write every day of November, but I did manage to write most days. Tonight I am grateful for the the challenge to write, but also for a time to reflect on a year of Gratitude and prepare for a new year with Advent.
All over our nation the Christmas decorations have been out for a long time and the ads have been running non stop to encourage all of us to shop more and buy more for Christmas. Of Course for Christians, Christmas is still 24 days off. We begin with Advent, a season that invites us to wait, reflect, hope and pray for love and joy and peace to come in Emmanuel, God-with-us.
Waiting is hard. Truthfully, the Christmas is short: from December 25 until January 6. Twelve days in fact, for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. As much as I want to jump into the Christmas, I long every year for Advent. To pause each week and ponder the themes of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy is a gift to my heart and soul.
It is often hard for me to slow down and enjoy the pace of the season. There is so much to do on the calendar, at church and at home. Preparation is at the heart of Advent. Preparation takes time, but in terms of Advent, it takes intentionality as well. Pausing is the invitation of the season: to breathe, to read, to reflect on the gift of God who comes to us in a tiny human baby.
On this last day of November, and and the end of the Christian year, I am grateful for the season of Advent. I am promising myself a more reflective time, and a more intentional time of waiting and preparation. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.