Advent (from the Oxford Dictionary): The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays. Christian theology: the coming or second coming of Christ.
For me, the advent candle is a perfect symbol for the season. Light in the darkness, quiet, hopeful... the flame is small and fragile. Yet beautiful, inspiring, and a source of light in spite of its apparent weakness. We can choose to quench that light, or we can choose to draw strength and hope from it.
I choose hope. I choose joy. I've struggled with the whole joy thing over the course of my life. A family background and wiring toward depression, and an awareness of the brokenness of the world have been my constant companions for most of my life. Though I am now free from depression, the haunting awareness of pain and suffering has not left me. But that has only brought me to an intense, poignant love for this season. A season where I remember my only hope - both my only hope personally, and our only hope for redemption of this beautiful, broken world.
A hope fulfilled in Christ. A time to remember and re-experience the mystery, wonder, and blessing of His coming. God among us. Advent - a time of expectant waiting and longing. I can't get away from the wonder, mystery, and immense love represented by the Advent season... nor do I want to.
Yet we are still in a time of longing and waiting. Marc Byrd of Common Children and Hammock was at Audiofeed last year. He wrote "The In Between Time", a song that I've always loved. It expresses the tension between fulfilled and unfulfilled hope that we live in every day. We are free, and can live lives of hope, love, and grace. Yet we carry His cross - God has given us the incredible gift of sharing in His love for humanity. A beautiful and powerful gift indeed. A gift that requires that we share in His pain while we share His love. Leaving us sometimes with only this cry: "Lord Jesus, come soon!"
Until He does come, we must gather. We must be One Body. We must love. We are committed to continuing Audiofeed for that reason. Despite being a music festival, the music is secondary to the family gathering. But we're only together for a few days each year. Throughout the year, especially now, we must come together in love. - they will know us by our love. We need each other - now more than ever.
Advent. a time of expectant, longing waiting. Celebrate it well.