When you don’t feel ready for Advent

The holiday season snuck up on me this year. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. I’ve heard from countless people how they forgot Thanksgiving was this week, how they can’t believe it’s almost December. Probably doesn’t help that (at least in North Carolina) we’re having seasonal whiplash, going from 80 degrees to below freezing temperatures in a matter of weeks.

But whether it’s the temperatures or just the result of a busy life, I know I’m not alone when I say I don’t feel prepared to enter into the holiday season. Even though I adore this time of year, I find myself wishing I had a few more weeks of anticipation before the festivities begin. Specifically, Advent is one of things I’ve found myself not feeling “ready for,” even though it’s usually one of the most sacred times for me. Each year, I re-read The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp and start my days re-centering on this holy season. I absolutely love it. 

But this year, I haven’t felt like I’m in the right headspace. I haven’t looked forward to it like I usually do because I’m feeling distracted and overwhelmed. Last year, I wrote an Advent devotional series for the first time and had hopes of doing it again… but I found myself facing writer’s block every time I sat down to write, unsure of what to write, feeling completely uninspired. I just don’t feel ready. And beyond just on a personal level, it’s been a heavy fall season. Nasty political ads ran nonstop, seasonal illnesses have seemed worse than usual, and communities grappled with more senseless shootings – my Raleigh community being one of them. It’s a lot to carry into December.

And yet…

Isn’t that the whole point of Advent? Jesus came when we weren’t ready. When we weren’t tidy and put together. When we were weary. When the world – even though they were walking in darkness – had not fully realized their need for the light. John 1:11 says “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

But he came anyway. He came not because we were ready but because we needed him to come. Even if we didn’t know it. 

When that truth hit me, I realized I didn’t need to have it all together. I didn’t have to enter Advent prepared nor perfect nor put together. I didn’t have to know what to write or study or read or pray. Because the next verse in John 1 says “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

We are only called to enter Advent ready to receive and believe.

So I invite you to go on this new journey with me. To not enter Advent with a plan or an agenda… but rather a posture of readiness to receive whatever the Lord has for us. Because if we had it all together, he wouldn’t have needed to come in the first place. 

The weary world rejoices. 

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