In the Stillness of Advent

Advent Reflection, Friday, November 26

By: Kilpy Singer

Can I share something with you?

Advent is hard for me. These four weeks are some of the most cherished in our liturgical year, but I tend to find them exhausting. It’s a combination of the cold weather, diminishing hours of sunlight, and anniversaries of a loved one’s passing. While the world gets decked out in string lights and takes on an air of excitement, I start to feel a little blue.

Maybe I’m not alone in this. Maybe you, or a friend, or a family member get this too. The season calls for boundless holiday cheer, but it takes all our energy just to make sure every family member is where they are supposed to be at the right time and in clean (enough) clothes. On top of that, we each carry our own invisible but very real burdens. We carry guilt, fatigue, hurt, and fear, especially after these past 20 months.

This expectation of how we are supposed to feel versus the reality of how we really feel is difficult. It’s a tension that I carry as I wrap gifts, go to parties, and re-watch Elf for the hundredth time. But there are two places I have relief from it: when I am in our kitchen lighting our table-top Advent wreath and when I am in the church late on Christmas Eve. I have a brief reprieve because I’m reminded. I’m reminded that the tension I’m feeling is between me and Hallmark, not me and God. I’m reminded that life is hard, and the world wants to distract me of it, but God, on the other hand, wants me to enter into it. I’m reminded that some 2,000 years ago, God did enter in by becoming incarnate – the Word made flesh.

This reminder requires very little of us. As the world screams “Do more, buy more, and look cheery while doing it!” God whispers a gentle, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still. Our simple, yet sacred, Advent practices help us to find quiet amidst the holiday chaos. Know that I am God. It’s in that stillness that God enters in and reminds us of who God is – a God who doesn’t tell us to feel or be something we aren’t, but instead, becomes what we are.