Yesterday marked that start of Advent, a time where we intentionally journey toward Christmas, where we take the time to long for the Christ child, where we remember that we are not the first people to long for a better world, to look the skies and cry out, “Seriously God? Fix this!”
Today someone Twitter asked what was the best advice we have ever received regarding anxiety and I gave me stand by answer, the bear hunt answer.
Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, gotta go through it.
To be honest, this is totally solid advice for just about anything in life. Sometimes, the shit hits the fan. Sometimes people break your heart, or disappoint you, or die. It is horrible, it sometimes feels extra horrible in December. There is no way around the pain of this sometimes brutal world. The only way through it is through it. You have to go through it.
These days the avoidance of sad feelings often gets blamed on the perpetual high light reel of social media and the ability to watch entire seasons of your favorite shows on Netflix in one sitting. But advent has been around since the beginnings of the church. The church has always set aside the time before the feast of the Christ child to feel our feelings. Apparently, the world has always attempted to avoid them, apparently we have always wanted everything to be fine. And things are just so often not fine.
The early church knew that we needed time for longing, time to ponder hope and how hard it is sometimes. We needed a time to say out loud that we wish things were different, that they didn’t have to be this way. If we pretend that everything is perfect why do we even need a savior anyway?
My friend Tina asked her congregation, “What does your heart long for?” It may take some of us a few days to even give ourselves permission to ask ourselves the question. What is it your heart is longing for? What is not right in this world? These might not seem like very merry questions but I think they are the exact questions we need. These sad feelings we never have time for, Advent is the time.
Can’t go around them, can’t go under them, can’t go over them, gotta go through them.
We are going on an Advent, to see what we need to see.