I was raised in the Christian tradition, and Advent holds a special place in my heart. The four weeks leading up to Christmas are all about waiting. The stories told are about people scrabbling for bits of hope amidst confusing prophecies, corrupt leaders and desperate poverty.
While my life is not quite so fraught, I admit that I look around most Decembers and find plenty of cause for concern. Confusion, corruption and desperation are still rampant in the world and even in my life. This year I’ve been to too many funerals and held too few babies. Hope seems inadequate and even futile.
Honestly, it’s not Bible stories that give me comfort these days. Instead, my faith in life is restored when I can sit with difficulty, fear and anger. After a lifetime of denying despair, I’m learning that, if I enter into the darkness, my eyes will adjust and I will see what the darkness has for me. At the very least, I recognize that nothing lasts — especially a dark mood — and the sooner I engage with it, the sooner it will pass.
This definition of “advent” is what’s sustaining me these days:“a coming into place, view or being; arrival”
So, in the gray days of the past few months, I’ve been patiently waiting. Though the world seems stuck in black and white, color is there, even if I cannot see it. Warmth is there, even if I don’t feel it. And dormancy is not death, just rest.
I’m appreciating the details and edges of a monochromatic view.
I remind myself of things I’m looking forward to, things I’m working toward, even if those goals seem far away and the path to achieving them full of obstacles.
And I’ve kept my eyes open for signs; that my ability to see color, that my ability to hope, is not gone, just resting in preparation for something new.
All photos taken by me, with an iPhone.