Advent is my favorite season of the year. Not Christmas. Advent: those four Sundays preceding Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin word for ‘coming’. It’s the time that traditionally is used for the expectation of the celebration of the birth of Christ. I love the darkness of it, literal and metaphorical, this period of time before the Light comes into the world. It is in the dark when I have learned my faith most clearly, when I have learned to become my true self, when I have grown most strong, when I have learned what it means to truly love and be loved. I look forward to spending time in that waiting period every year.
Every Advent, our local church chooses a theme for the season - often basing our series on books or studies or initiatives in the broader church. This year, we settled on a theme from another local pastor, Rachel Billup, and the previous pastor of that same community, Mike Slaughter. It’s been my tradition for several years to write something weekly about each theme here on my own pages, so it’s a true delight for me that our focus at church this year is based on their book, Down to Earth. Because this happens to be my favorite part of the Jesus story. Incarnation. God became flesh. Jesus came here.
If you’ve been around me very long, you will probably hear me talking about showing up. It’s a lesson born out of desperation and need, a lesson from a lifelong struggle with inadequacy and a persistent feeling of not being enough. It’s a lesson learned through frustration and hope, loneliness and love, and it’s one I want everyone else to learn too. I’ve never been more convinced that showing up is the answer. You want to change your life? You want to love your family well? You want to impact the world? Simply show up.
That’s why I love Advent. It’s this season of darkness, of waiting, of expectation because guess what? Jesus is about to SHOW UP. He becomes a man. He did a whole lot more than that sure, but it was His showing up that was the magic. I mean, who would even care if God did a thousand miracles, but we never saw him? There wouldn’t possibly be a resurrection if God hadn’t shown up here first. All that awesome stuff Jesus taught and did? While He was human, with human needs and human frailties and human desires. He showed up: fully present, fully himself, fully love. And it was enough.
So here’s my invitation to you this Advent season: show up.
Be present. Be yourself. Be love. It’s enough.
*I’ll be showing up here on Sunday for the next four weeks talking about this down-to-earth God I love and what it’s like to live like him right where you are, in spite of all the bad press his followers give him. Don’t want to miss a post? Sign up at the link below to get it straight into your inbox. You’re not into it? Just skip the Sunday posts. Or maybe? Read it? Consider that it’s all a little easier and more grace-full than what you think.