This year more than any other year I have a pressing need to reflect upon and enter into the season of Advent.  Advent is a churchy word, and it might sound too heady and religious to fit into your daily life in 2011, but I hope you will reconsider.  Advent is all about waiting, something we don’t do very well anymore.  We want things yesterday, or sooner and when our fast food takes too long or our iPhone lags a bit we get irritated and impatient.  We don’t practice waiting, we fill every spare second with stuff and junk and that is precisely why we need to dig into Advent.  It is a season of waiting for, and preparing room in your heart for the birth of Jesus.  I am so thirsty for more Jesus in my heart-space.

If you do a little historical digging into the political and socio-economic time into which Jesus was born, you’ll quickly realize that the Jews were a people in desperation.  They were oppressed and nearly crushed under the weight of the Roman Empire.  They were taxed into starvation and their babies were being slaughtered in their midst.  They expected a knight in shining armor savior to go to war for them against their Caesars and Pontious Pilots.  Instead our New Testament shows us Jesus, a teacher passionate about stirring up a global heart-revolution.  He doesn’t draw a sword or focus on military strategy, his territory is people and loving them free.  This is still his driving passion today, but we need to enter into Advent to that we understand what a revolution the Christ child is.  He rewrote the rules for the world, when revolution was weak and stagnant, he stirred life into the world, restoring it to a place of vivid brightness.

Come thou long-expected Jesus… born to set your people free.

Free from all the busyness, lists, shoulds and musts that we attach to his Christmas.

Are you interested in preparing your heart for his arrival like a bride prepares for her groom?  I spent some time yesterday with my friend Katie who is the beginning stages of planning her wedding to my husbands best friend Andy.  I love weddings, from the grand gestures to the tiny details, it all matters to me and I love getting lost in gathering the bits and pieces of a dear friend’s perfect day.  What if we put 10% of that effort into preparing our hearts for Christmas?   Instead of getting busier, what if we waited and created space?  The world waited for the baby in the manger just as we still await his final return.  Earth is still broken, awaiting a total restoration that we deeply believe is coming.  No matter how great 2011 was. we are all a bit hurt and the manger with it’s wiggling warm infant is the salve for our wounds.  My simple prayer is that every year we see the manger a bit clearer as we grow a touch closed to the heart of it all.  May we breathe deep the clean evergreen of this season as we await the healing birth of Jesus, together, maybe around a plate of brightly frosted and sprinkled cookies.

This is what I’m doing for Advent, it’s call the Jesse Tree and its a family advent plan with roots into the Old Testament.  If you still need an advent devotional type-thing I recommend you check it out.  Along this line, I have found Ann Voskamp’s blog  “A Holy Experience” beautiful and refreshing, I have it emailed to me.  If you are looking for a bit of centering truth in the middle of your day, subscribe to that, it’s lovely and true, unlike about 90% of that crap that finds its way into my inbox and probably yours too.

Do you practice Advent at all?