This is my favorite season of the year. I am talking about Advent - not Christmas or winter. Advent is all about newness, darkness, and waiting. I love that the new year of my faith starts five weeks before the calendar new year. It's like pregnancy, coming first before the jubilant arrival of birth. I love that during the time of the year when even sunlight is dimmer way up north, and only here for about eight hours a day, that it is this time when hope is springing, deep and new.
Andrew and I want to have an Advent tradition in our family. It's hard to know exactly when and how to start it. There are Christmas trees going up all over facebook and I admit to feeling the pressure. I also admit to looking around our space and having not one clue where we are going to put one. I tell myself that next year, when the bassinet and the baby swing and the bouncy chair have been permanently retired, when there are two children sleeping in the kids' room and just the two of us in our bed that it will be easier to figure all this out.
I may be right.
I cannot remember an Advent when I wasn't waiting for something specific to happen. Last year throughout Advent our adoption application sat on the kitchen table and sometimes on the desk, waiting for a decision. We sent it in just after Christmas. The year before I was in the thick of first-time motherhood, waiting for it all to make sense. The year before that we celebrated the first weekend of the church year by attending a weekend adoption training, our first one. The year before that I was waiting for this brand new condo to feel like home. Before that we were moving out of our first apartment together and in with Andrew's dad during Advent - waiting to have enough money to buy a home. The year before that I was discerning whether or not to leave my job, go back to school. The year before that I was engaged and waiting to be married...and before that I didn't know it but I was moments away from meeting Andrew for the first time, on December 10, 2003.
And so it goes. I guess waiting for a tree isn't that difficult to do. I want my children to experience this, the waiting and then the glory of Christmas when it does get here full of lights and greens and gifts. And as much as I dream of the day when my sweet wee baby sleeps soundly in her own bed next to her sister's I don't want to rush this.
In the Godly Play Advent lessons there is talk of the Mystery of Christmas. Such a big Mystery that it takes time to come close to it. Such a big Mystery that it is easy to miss. This year I don't want to miss it, even if it means missing some of the frenzy and fun. This is why I love Advent. It gives me permission to wait on the Christmas tree and spend some time alone, looking with gladness into the dark.