December 1st, 2020

christmas

Thoughts on Advent

I find December a better time for self-evaluation and contemplation than January. January starts off with a resigned resumption of daily working life, mind and body befuddled by too much social interaction and feasting. There's a sense of reluctance to it, a wishing we could linger in the splendors of Christmas.

December, on the other hand, naturally lends itself to looking forward, to preparation. For most people it's simply a preparation for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, but the last year or two I've been trying to use it as preparation for the entire new year just around the corner.

That's especially true right now: the puppy is finally approaching adulthood, allowing me to make my own plans and schedule instead of having to simply fit myself around the edges of his needs; I have the promise of a 4-day work week sometime starting January or February; vaccinations mean that (please God) public life may soon be returning to more natural forms. There's a lot of hope going on at the moment. :P

But these are all secular mundanities. The main reason Advent is an excellent time to reorganize everything is that it's the annual reminder that this life and world are impermanent--a time to pull out all the bits and pieces that have accumulated over the past year and examine them in light of eternity. And I will confess that this past year has been absolutely crap in that regard; church on a screen, devotions fragmented or non-existent, harmful indulgences because I was too tired for proper self-control. I am deeply grateful to have yet another chance to repent and reorient my path.

I pray you all are able to do the same!