Advent is all about waiting. Lighting the purple and pink candles. Waiting for the Christ child to be born and placed in the manger. Waiting for Him to come again at the end of time.
When I lit the wreath today, I wondered how people felt before electricity. In the coldest and shortest days of the year, candles were a significant symbol of hope. For me, they still are. I’ve tried this Advent to hold a place of stillness in my heart, to be a part of the world as I prepare for Christmas, but to remain calm in spite of all the busyness. Sometimes, I succeeded. Other times, not so much.
Winter is also about waiting, but the promise of new life is everywhere if you look. The buds of my Magnolia x soulangiana, Tulip Magnolia, are cloaked in their warm, fuzzy coats, but in only a few months, spring will return. This tree will unfurl its blossoms revealing the same shade of purple as Advent vestments.
Even the bleached, worn leaves of the Japanese maple are beautiful. Vestiges of last summer, they still cling like cutwork lace to the tree’s purple stems. Inside those stems, new leaves lie in wait for the warm temperatures of spring. If I close my eyes, I can see them.
Tiny leaves peak out of the soil as if holding a testing finger in the air, trying to decide if they dare grow any further. Our temperatures are up and down, so they are a bit confused.
I say to them, “No, wait a little while longer. More cold weather is to come.”
I wish I could say the same thing to Christmas, but Christmas won’t wait. Five more days, and it will be here, whether I am ready or not.
If you celebrate Christmas, are you ready? How do you make merry during these dark days of anticipation?