I love the season of Advent. I don’t love it quite as much as summer, truth be told. But in this transition from outdoors to hibernation – the glow of Advent is welcome grace.
Not so many weeks ago I started my mornings on my porch. East facing, sun rising. Warm air and birds singing. Now my winter chair sits just inside, a window between, no more. From here I look out on a Christmas porch, baskets full of evergreen, lights strung through garland. A light dusting of snow. And at night my bedroom is a fairytale of twinkling lights.
Advent traditions abound for our family. Advent calendar and Advent wreath. Candles lit weekly while scripture is read. And the favorite of all boys, young and grown — The Advent Quilt. A Pottery Barn find at least sixteen years ago, still counting the days ‘til Christmas.
The past couple of years I thought the boys were too big. The quilt stayed packed in storage for some future day when kids would have kids, and I’d bring it back out as a grandma. But now. Two boys new to our family traditions, and — I’ll bet they’d really like that quilt.
It was Nils who lit up brightest. We’re doing the quilt? Sweet! He knows what to expect. Twenty-four pockets stitched with snowmen and trees, and a treat each day until Christmas.
ADVENT. It means waiting. Good waiting. Eagerly expecting. Hope.
And this week is HOPE. Last Sunday we lit the Hope candle, and hope was Sunday’s sermon, too. It was just what we needed, and just in time. That dark morning, last Sunday, when for the first time since arriving one boy said No. I’m not going, to church.
So all week long I’ve been hoping. And trying. Wooing and winning through candy and candles and twinkling lights. Painting a picture of Jesus.
Waiting. This Advent waiting, and real-life waiting. Good but hard. And sometimes while we wait, we groan. It was the Apostle Paul who said it this way. We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly… for our adoption. Romans 8:23.
One boy says it often. This is not really my family. And yet. This same boy snuggles with Mom at bedtime and shares his secrets with Dad. And reading between the lines we know it’s not quite like he says. We are, and we’re not. We’re waiting.
And we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly. With Hope.