That Advent Feeling
Now that I’m traversing midlife, I have a question: Is this it? I mean do I really have much to look forward to? Is my only remaining option to live vicariously through my adult children? (If so, I hope they soon get a life before I’m pushing up daisies.) Thank goodness for the Advent season. Allow me to explain.
Last Saturday I put up the Christmas lights on our house. That night I went outside and stood in the front yard to admire my handiwork. But something was missing. I didn’t experience that warm sentimental feeling I usually get this time of year when Christmas lights appear on the homes in my neighborhood and Christmas trees show up in front windows. Granted, at fifty-six I can’t expect to experience the same wonder and magic of Christmas that I did at ten. (The Polar Express is not going to stop in front of my house.) But on a deeper level, where is that fullness of life in Christ often mentioned by preachers and Christian writers? What does it look like? With my body and mind feeling more infirmities with the onset of age, I can’t help but feel a little melancholy. After all, what more can life offer when you have nearly outlived the ambition, faux immortality and energy of youth? Sure, I look forward to retirement and time with my wife and grandchild. Hopefully there will be more grandchildren. Still, life can be mundane.
Then I read an article that reminded me that Advent (which will soon be upon us) is about hope. Not so much hope for the improvement of my circumstances or exciting new developments in my life, but hope in a God who came to us and will come again. Hope in a God who works marvels through small, unskilled, flawed and insignificant people. Hope in a God who will make all things right. Creation itself will be healed. Just thinking about the hope in Advent and those ragged shepherds gazing at that bright star in the black vault above . . . well, it brought back that warm feeling I’ve been missing. Yes, there is something to look forward to.