This Advent, I am painfully aware of so much grief which surrounds me. The grief of lost loved ones, the grief of lost jobs, the grief of lost chances. This season, which is typically billed as one of joy and celebration, is anything but for so many.
We rush around in an attempt to cover the pain brought on by mentions from others about family parties, vacations, and work schedules. We decorate our homes and light candles, reciting a script that we just can’t completely stand behind right now as we struggle and wonder what plan God has for us.
This is the time when we should celebrate that in all of our fault, doubt, confusion, and grief, God sent Christ for us. There was no list of requirements to receive the love and grace which the Christ child came to share. No decree went out that we must have everything pulled together in order to visit that stable and meet the Christ child.
Christ came to each of us in the middle of the night. If our savior came in the midst of the dark, why are we so afraid to sit there? Why are we ashamed to admit that the dark is where we find ourselves right now?
I wonder what this season would look like if we shifted our focus away from the scripts and the decorations, away from the masks we put on. I wonder what meaning this season would take on if we acknowledged the ways we struggle and instead of hiding them away in the empty decoration boxes, put them out beside the tree. What if we took time to sit in the dark of Advent for a while, openly and together, and listened for those angels to sing and announce Christ’s birth?
This season, I encourage you to remember that if we had everything together and perfect, there would have been no need for God to send his Son. I encourage you to allow others to see all that decorated your home – the twinkling lights and the struggle. I encourage you to embrace all that this season is for — the joy and celebration and the struggle and doubt.
If you can only sit in one part of Advent right now, sit where it is most true to you and remember that Christ was sent to us because God saw the ways in which we struggled and felt separated; God heard our cries in the wilderness and created this new way for us.
May we all find find strength and comfort as we sit in the dark of Advent and may we all find warmth by the fire with which we light each Advent candle.
Rev. Jordan B. Davis (M.Div. ’14)
Associate Pastor, Youth & Young Adults
Kirk of Kildaire, Presbyterian (Cary, NC)