By Amanda Cleary Eastep
We are parked in the middle of a dark road in the Wisconsin countryside on our way home from my first ever grown-up New Year’s Eve party in my cousins’ basement. Cousin #1 is wondering why cousin #2, who may have sucked down a few too many Pabst Blue Ribbons, isn’t behind us anymore and stops his car to wait for his brother to catch up.
While Cousin #1 is busy complaining to my parents, I gaze through the rear window at the road behind us, which disappears quickly beyond the faint glow of our tail lights.
Two circles of white appear at the top of the hill not far behind the place where our car sits, idling.
I mutter, “He’s coming.”
Then a bit more loudly. “He’s coming.”
Realizing my cousin hasn’t taken the cue to hit the gas and that his Cavalier probably can’t do 0 to 60 in the next 15 seconds, I try again…
…as I scoot up between the bucket seats and brace myself.
Advent is like that. (Minus the fear and the cousin full of PBRs.)
During the Advent season, which begins today with the lighting of the first purple candle (ours happens to be scented Midnight Pumpkin), Christians prepare for Christmas Day.
This first day of Advent celebrates hope and sparks the anticipation of our celebration of a day we believe had a soul-saving impact on the world.
Not only do we rejoice at the first coming of Christ, we also look forward to the day he will come again.
While that coming could cause some of us to hiss a frightened “He’s coming!” warning rather than make a joyful noise, the way in which Jesus arrived on earth the first time sends a message of love, not fear.
He is come…in meekness.
He is come…in lowliness.
He is come…in the awe that only a baby could inspire.
What more anticipation can any human feel than a mother at the impending birth of her baby as it slides through the agony and flesh and blood and relief and raw wonder of ‘what will be?’
But we are all invited every day to hope in ‘what will be’ far beyond the Advent season…
And to brace for — and embrace — the impact.