I love Advent. It’s perfect for dark nights of the soul. Maybe because it includes so very many dark nights of winter.
It’s about waiting.
And waiting some more.
The first time people were waiting for the Messiah, they had no idea when he was coming. No clue just what they were waiting for. But they kept waiting and hoping.
It’s kind of like being in a dark night. You’re not sure why you’re there, how long you’ll be there, and what exactly you’re waiting for.
It’s a good thing growth happens in the dark.
And then, in Advent, just like in dark nights, suddenly there’s a bit of light.
All it takes is one small candle.
Bringing a sense of anticipation.
And with that light, color comes back into the world.
We’ve started two new Advent traditions this year to help our son, who’s 2 1/2, both wait and anticipate the coming of the Messiah.
The first is a Jesse Tree. I made ours out of a branch stuck in a jug full of sand. Each day, there’s a new ornament representing a new part of the story of God’s creation, redemption and ultimate consummation as we look toward the second Advent of the Messiah.
This picture clearly shows the ornament for day 3 of advent, which is the story of the flood, and is represented by a rainbow for God’s promise.
The second advent tradition is an Advent Calendar that we’re filling up as we go. Each tiny bucket holds a person or animal from a Nativity/Infancy Narrative set I’m making out of peg dolls. The first two you can see in this picture, are the angel Gabriel and Mary. After we unwrapped them, we read the story of the Annunciation, and then put the figures in the buckets to show that 2 days had passed. We’ve also unwrapped Elizabeth, and will read the story of the visitation one night when his attention span is longer (we’re reading one story every night for the Jesse Tree already! And he’s only two )
(And if you want more DIY on how I made the calendar and ornaments, I’ll be posting over at Wayfaring Artist soon!
For once, I’m content to wait in the dark, enjoying my little bits of light and bursts of color knowing that they’re just a tiny taste of what’s to come.