teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name... psalm 86:11

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This past Sunday marked the beginning of the Advent season… and I have to be honest- I don’t think I’ve ever really truly paid much attention to the significance of this tradition. Shocker, I know, coming from the pastor’s wife, the one who has worked at churches in some capacity for the past ten years. This year is different though, and I’m finding myself intrigued…

Maybe it’s because this year I’m removed from the busyness and chaos of being “church staff”- the many hours of planning events, services, activities and then having to actually attend said events, services, and activities… there’s been a space created that I’ve missed for a long time… a space of reflection and quietness as we prepare for Christmas…

Really, though, I think my intrigue of Advent stems from something I read recently. Words that described the heart of the season, but also echoed the heart of my own life season… there’s a parallel that drew me in…

“Advent is about waiting, anticipating, yearning. Advent is the question, the pleading... Advent says the baby is coming, but he isn't here yet, that hope is on its way, but the yearning is still very real... Advent allows us to tell the truth about what we're grieving, without giving up on the gorgeous and extravagant promise of Christmas, a baby on his way.”
-Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet

Advent is joyful hope and restless longing mixed together in this beautiful way that only makes sense through the lens of faith. I relate to the waiting, anticipating, yearning… for God to act, to move, to speak… and yet I share too in the sense of resting in God’s promises, walking in the hope and joy of what is just beyond the horizon.

And that joy… that unexplainable, overflowing joy that is a gift of God… was the first candle lit this week as we began this Advent path. It reminds me of the words Peter spoke in his first sermon: “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” {Acts 2:28}  Joy in His presence… only possible because He who is infinite and incomprehensible chose to enter our world and become tangible… become Immanuel, God with us. And this is what we celebrate on Christmas.

So this year I’m challenging myself to embrace the invitation of the season… the invitation to, in Shauna’s words, “Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found…”

What an incredible God we serve.


  1. This post makes me so happy :). I did not celebrate Christmas as a child and when I discovered Advent as a grown-up...I absolutely fell in love. Something so special about the dark coming early in the night and the way the candles shine in the midst of it. I think we all need that space you talk about to truly appreciate the liturgical seasons.

    Beautiful post.

  2. It's hard to fall open to Advent when I get so distracted, by the unimportant.

    You know, I've always wanted some kind of Advent candle set. . .just a simple one, to place right in the middle of my world.

    Thanks for the post, Denise.

  3. I love this. Such a good reminder when the season gets so busy!