What I appreciate most about the Advent season is two things: 1) all that is packed in it and 2) all the ways to see it and gain insights for life. What’s packed in? Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa… and more, I’m sure. Add to formal observances our personal and family traditions. A lot happens in this time. And perspective is important. There seems to be a little more “room” people give themselves.
We either cement ourselves in grief and regret, or we set ourselves in awe and wonder. The former perspective makes room for wallowing and sadness, and it is neither good nor healthy. Sometimes, we feel like grief keeps people alive who have left us (in living separation or in death). We can miss people terribly and memories that should comfort bring anguish. The good news is that there is some grief and regret in the Advent accounts. Do I have proof? Not exactly, not verbatim in words. But, I do have an idea about some consistencies in human nature and consider men like Zechariah, who when confronted by an angel and told that he and his also aged (and barren) wife would conceive, could not believe it.
There is something about waiting that can weigh down.
The latter perspective of awe and wonder makes room for miracles. From the oil lasting for eight days to Providence in the birth of Jesus, if we allow our hearts to lighten in this time we can see things and learn things that will help us. This perspective is not exempt from grief, regret, or painful memories; the difference is our choice to try and see something new. The wonderful gift of Advent is that while the details of history do not change, as we grow, we see new insights in the stories. God is good for this — for letting us return to the Gospels of Scripture and other books and readings to keep seeing something new.
There is something about waiting that can sustain us in tough times.
Wherever you find yourself, I pray that you use your God given bravery. Be strong and very courageous, and ask the Lord for some awe and wonder. Take a chance on putting down that regret, and making peace with a better future. In your grief, remember you are not alone. The Lord will help us all, whatever the need or situation. I pray for us, that our perspectives will lift and lighten us, even if the resulting insights cut before they heal. Advent is full of opportunities. Do not let the season end without tapping in!
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the founder of The Bereans’ Commentary.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
Rooted Grounded Fixed and Founded in the Love of God