That Extraordinary Moment - Reflections for the Advent Season

It’s been a long year.  

January and February were running along as usual, plans were being made, trips planned, and celebrations rehearsed - and then COVID-19 hit – and everything ground to a halt.  I barely remember March.  We sent the entire campus home to finish the semester online, as our state and nation moved from crisis, to quarantine, to lockdown.  Since then we have lived through a 2nd and 3rd wave, and now prospects of a vaccine grow with each passing day. It seems like 2020 has already lasted 18 months.

And as hard as it is to believe, Advent is just around the corner.  But this year’s Advent Season will be as different as this year’s Summer Break.  Shopping will be different, celebrations will be different, and travel plans will be different.  It will all still happen – but it will just all be different. But before we get caught up in all the tinsel and tags and boxes and bags of another holiday season – let’s pause and reflect on what is most important during this “most wonderful time of the year.” 

But how does reflection work if you can barely remember part of the year?

I would suggest by remembering what hasn’t changed and isn’t different about this year.  By remembering that Advent isn’t about getting presents, attending parties, or going to Disneyworld.  By remembering that Advent is about celebrating that moment in time, when time was full, and God chose to enter our world.  To take on flesh and live in our skin and walk in our shoes.  To show us what life in the Kingdom and the Kingdom life look like.  

So, close your eyes, take a deep breath...

The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. - (Frederick Buechner)

Advent is the name of that moment.

Praying with, and for, you all,

Jon S. Kulaga, Ph.D.
Ohio Christian University