Tuesday, December 1, 2009

on waiting

i made an advent wreath last weekend. this ancient tradition has become a sweet tradition at our church, with members contributing all sorts of greens for the wreath-making and a very talented artist/church member/friend providing guidance on assembling the wreaths. this year, the explanation of the colors of the candles really struck me, however, in a way it never has before.

the first candle, which is purple, represents hope. the second, also purple, stands for peace. the third, the pink one, is for joy. the fourth, again purple, love. and the white candle in the center, not lit until christmas, is the Christ candle.

look at (okay, at least imagine) the calendar with me for a minute.

the first sunday of advent was this past weekend. the candle we lit stood for hope. i was, meanwhile, just a week removed (and not nearly physically recovered) from losing zeph. hope? hardly at the top of the list of what i was feeling this weekend.

this coming sunday will be the second sunday, and the candle we will light represents peace. if you were looking at my calendar with me right now, you would see very little of peace coming this weekend for my family. if we could pack another thing into one more hour, we might. but i don't think we can. 'tis the season of too-much-of-everything, after all. no quiet waiting this advent weekend for us. what i wouldn't do for some peace.

the third sunday is december 13. which is the day after december 12, the anniversary of eliza's death. the candle? joy. really? joy? we will likely attend a children's hospice memorial service that afternoon. joy? for me, the anticipation of that weekend holds dread first and foremost. a year gone by. joy?

as for the fourth candle, the sunday before christmas, and the fifth for christmas day...well, love and Christ, that's what this season is about. i'm looking forward--rushing might not be too strong a word--to getting to those candles, myself.

what i take away from these five candles this year, then, is a good reminder: i cannot look for hope, peace, or joy in this world. i will not find them here. my hope is not in people or places or things, those things that make up what is so apparently real to me. what is really real, the love of God in Christ that advent and christmas point to, is all about what we're anticipating and awaiting. hope, peace, and joy. i, for one, am grateful for the reminder of those things to come.

1 comment:

TwoSquareMeals said...

I have been and will be praying for you these weeks, my friend. So much to handle at once. Praying for a real sense of Jesus' presence in the midst of it all, and so glad that He was made flesh and that He is coming again!