13 December 2010

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel...

It's December. The weather feels warm-ish. I can get away with a sweater, mitts, and maybe a scarf. If it's not raining I don't need a hat. Fortunately we are spending Christmas with the in-laws in Quesnel, where it is expected to be down to -19 by the end of the week, complete with at least some snow. I'm looking forward to it, although before I bought our bus tickets I was panicking about the trip north. Now I am resigned to the will of Providence. Hooray for eleven hours on a bus. We leave a couple days before Christmas, so if I really need to knit myself another winter hat, I do have time. Mittens might be a better investment, since I do have several hats already. And there's this sweater I want to finish. I haven't finished the Christmas shopping yet, either.

I always feel ambivalent about Christmas. There's the pretty decorations, and the food, and the music. The goofy movies about the Christmas. There's the greed. The stress. The guilt. The worry. The futile search to restore the sense of magic we felt during Christmas as children, and the let-down that follows when we realize it's never going to be the same.

And there's Advent, which has become, in recent years, one of the most important aspects of the Christmas season for me. This sense of waiting in anticipation, not for Santa Claus, not for the presents, but for Christ.

I don't talk much about religion on here, but as it is an important part of who I am, it didn't seem so out-of-place, when this is what's been on my mind.

We Christians (well, some of us, I can't speak for all of us), during this season, remember the first coming of Christ, and look forward to the second. We harken back to the years before his coming, to that yearning for God's salvation. And we renew our sense of wonder every year, when, on Christmas Day, we retell the story. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." The chasm between God and man was finally bridged.

And so, despite the stress of the season, and despite some of the darker days I've had earlier this month, I keep returning to a sense of peace. I keep thinking about this Mystery: Christ has died...Christ has risen...and Christ will come again.