It is the midway point of Advent. Two candles on the wreath are visibly shorter. They have been lit during the worship service and snuffed out at the end of the service to save some for the next week. After this coming Sunday, three candles will be shorter. And then four. And then…
Countdowns are fun. There is a thrill in enjoying a countdown as a group. On New Year’s Eve, it’s the countdown to a new, fresh year. “3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” The crowd hugs each other, couples sneak a kiss, and everyone cheers. In sports, it’s the countdown to a victory. Even when my team isn’t in the championship round, I still get a thrill from watching the final seconds of a game tick away. One can feel a palpable need to burst out in celebration. For my children this past month, there was a countdown to the days to see all of their grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in a matter of a few days. “How many sleeps until Thanksgiving?” they asked. From Thanksgiving day and through a few days after we saw pretty much all of our nearest relatives on both Theresa’s side of the family and mine. It was a blast to see everyone.
What type of a countdown excites you?
Advent, as a season in the church year, carries with it the idea of expectation. The word Advent is rooted in a Latin word meaning “coming.” It denotes that that coming hasn’t happened yet. Of course, from our vantage point in history, Jesus has come to earth the first time. He lowered Himself to be born as a baby. It’s somewhat strange to re-enact this story with which we are so familiar. And yet, in Advent, we reset the clock so-to-speak, and enjoy the countdown again. We get to re-live the pent up expectation that they felt as they waited for the Messiah.
As we live in this season of Advent, we enjoy that sense of expectation. It would be fascinating to go back in time to feel what the people felt as they waited for the Messiah to come. In a way, we share in that same pregnant expectation. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is coming again. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this “countdown” season: Advent.