I wrote my first version of this piece two years ago for an Advent blog called the mockingbird's leap, while I was finishing up my time in England. I really have the hope and desire to bring Advent to the forefront of my heart this season; I love Christmas, but it always speeds so fast and I feel like I miss nearly all of the bright anticipation and excitement and reflection that should go alongside the frenetic happy chaos of December 24. So for the first Sunday in Advent (Hope) -- a revision.
Being a child of Generation 'Net (not to mention a graduate of Davidson "10 new e-mails every half hour" College), I think I'm internally programmed to check my e-mail countless times each day. This is not the moment to expound upon the positives and negatives of that particular habit, but as far back as I can recall, there are certain names that pop into my inbox and bring me an overwhelming sense of joy. When I say certain names, I don't mean to imply that there's a set number of specific people who make me happier over others, I simply mean that all people become important through time and in ways that you hardly see coming -- and suddenly I see a name and my heart warms, jumps, my stomach flips, my smile aches. You! YOU wrote me a message. We are connected, bound, your words to my eyes. What will you tell me, what will I learn, what will I feel?
Sometimes I hold off opening the e-mail; the bold, unread-ness of the name keeps me anticipating, there is something that has been said and I don't yet know it. Wonder, anticipation, what will come next?! I have this gift, I have this hope. Words have been formed for me. Words can create action. Action forges life. Life knits people, and the circle begins again, strung together by hope.
Finally, I will read it, words/facts/thoughts/emotions becoming my reality. It may not read exactly as I want, it may not give me what I expected as I drifted my finger over the mouse, savoring the inbox, waiting to click; maybe the words will impact my life in unthinkable ways, trigger moments and experiences so far down the road I won't even recognize this message as a starting point. Maybe the words will simply tell me where to be later that night. Regardless, because the words are from you, they will revive my soul, they will make me curious, they will start conversation.
I want my Advent to be this way. Seeing the name (come, thou long-expected...), knowing some of the story (born to set thy people...), anticipating the creation of a new chapter (from our fears and sins release...), words and movement (let us find our rest...) and joy unknown and reborn (Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all...).
It's 1 AM and I'm staring at one now, grinning -- waiting for the moment to open it, reveling in the hope.