Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas, are a time of expectation. I learned this firsthand when I spent a summer interning at a church whose pastor’s wife (a pastor herself) was due to have a baby boy in the middle of July. We watched our cell phones, we asked the mother how she was feeling, we hovered.
In the history of the church, Advent has been a time for Christians to step back and remember that they’re waiting for a Savior to come again, as well as to celebrate the memory of his first coming, as an infant in Bethlehem.
Right now, we’re waiting. Just as with those awaiting the Messiah’s first appearance, we don’t know what it will look like when Jesus Christ returns. We don’t know when or how it could happen. Advent calls for a time of quiet contemplation, observation, and reflection. These silent, inward-focused activities help us to more honestly, and perhaps more compassionately, see the world around us–its needs, shortcomings, and its blessings.
How often do we slog through life with out heads down (glued to our iphones…), just pushing to make it through the day, or not taking in much of anything either for busy-ness or fear’s sake? What if, in this season of Advent, this season of observation and expectation, we walked around with our heads up–maybe even toward the sky, whence came the guiding star–allowing ourselves to expect to see or experience something wonderful?