“Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand.
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in His hand:
Christ our God to earth descending,
our full homage to demand.”
“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”
from the Liturgy of St. James
Jerusalem, ca. 1st century
Jerusalem, ca. 1st century
* * *
Did you groan when you saw the Christmas trees in Walmart? ...in October? How about when you saw the first snow? Or your first trip on those icy roads? Ugh. We can almost hear the whole world groan when winter starts. It feels stiff and hollow under its new frost, like it’s holding its breath, waiting to be released from the bondage of ice and brightly lit Christmas cheer. But maybe it's not the snow or the several months of Christmas music that gets us down. Maybe it's the prospect of another Christmas season altogether that we can't stand. Just another reminder of how alone we are, how unhappy we are, how happy everyone else is, how sick we are, how much we hurt, how much Christmas hasn't been the same since we got hurt or sick, since our wife died or our mom, since lost our baby, since we stopped talking to our brother, since we lost our job or our house, since...
So the penitential season of Advent begins. And no, we're not celebrating, despite whatever show the world puts on. What the world generally refers to as the “Christmas Season” is actually the season of Advent. During Advent, we—like our winter-bound world—are asked to hold our breath in hopeful expectation. We let our mortal flesh: the pain and desires for things and family alike, keep silence and go to church a little more often to prepare for the fulfillment of the promise of redemption: the advent, or the coming, of the Christ. Our ice is sin. It's the cause of our loneliness and unhappiness, our ailments and our injuries, of all the bad things we do, feel, and think, and of all the bad things that are done to us. Our spring began on that very first Christmas Day with the birth of the Son of God, a perfect sacrifice sent in the form of a poor, infant boy who would die for a world frozen with sin and darkness. And while we prepare to celebrate His first advent, we are also preparing for His second advent when He will return to set all things right.
Advent is not a happy time, so don't expect happiness. But it is a hopeful time. So hope. Christ wouldn't have died for nothing: He died for you, and He's coming back for you. In the meantime, God will help you through the world's Christmas Season. Click here to find a church near you and stop the loneliness and hopelessness today. Bookmark "God Just Get Me Through Christmas" on When Suffering Doesn't Stop this holiday season for help getting through Christmas one day at a time. Make a path to a meaningful, if not merry, Christmas.
"Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight."