Advent: Don't Forget the Crescendo

Last week was a delightful change of pace for us. We trekked back to the land of our childhood, Agatha the cat in tow, and enjoyed a circuit of visits and events with family and friends. We sat around many a table with beloved folks, and I was reminded once again of the treasure of people who love and support us, even if from afar.

After a week of rich food, late nights, necessary coffee recharges, laughter, and too many hours in the car, here I am again at my desk on a Monday morning. It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving has passed and the Christmas season is upon us.

This season holds such warmth and richness for me—the emotions evoked by an evening in front of a crackling fire, tiny lights reflecting in colorful ornaments, the smell of fresh pine and cookies baking, the gentle click of the record player as it spins records my grandparents used to play.

These moments of quiet beauty form a rising crescendo, which climaxes with Christmas Day, the day we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ to our world. This season of anticipation, known as Advent, can easily be overlooked in the busyness of the Christmas season.

Advent has historically marked a season of reflection and repentance in preparation for the Christmas celebration. Advent invites us to enter into the longing of the ages, as we rehearse the growing anticipation of Christ’s coming throughout the Old Testament. It helps us to recall the realities of longing and waiting, of hope that does not disappoint, of peace that bounds beyond our comprehension, of joy that can withstand any darkness, and of a love that broke into our world to transform it. Advent forces us to spiritually walk through the millennia of a world waiting and aching for a Messiah, a Savior. Living in this longing makes the joy of Christ’s coming all the more rich.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some Advent reflections with you. I encourage you to create some quietness in what can easily become a month of busyness and consumerism. I would recommend finding an Advent devotional or crafting a set of Advent Scripture readings for yourself. Remember the many years of preparation and waiting that led up to Christ’s birth—the hundreds of generations who lived and died in anticipation, the years of prophecy that echoed without fulfillment, the ages of longing for redemption and healing and for light in the darkness.

I invite you to sit in this place with me—and countless other Christians around the world—as we reflect on the coming of Christ. For his birth was not a spontaneous, isolated incident, but the climax of a crescendo that had built over the course of centuries.