The eve of Advent is upon us. The eve of waiting. The eve of counting down till the birth of the baby in the manger. The eve of time marked by hopefulness. I know the Advent countdown all too well. With the first day of December comes the first day to open my chocolate filled Advent Calendar. For me, it's not just a door to open to a bible verse or thought for the day, no, a door each morning containing chocolate. Good chocolate. German chocolate. A start to my day - a start to my December days for as far back as I can remember.
I love Advent. I love the light amidst the darkness. I love gathering for worship amidst the deep blue. For years I remember the calm and contemplation of mid-week Advent worship, space to feel God's presence in community. I love the longing and expectancy for a savior. I love the reminders to slow down, to watch, to wait. To welcome the One who is always welcoming us.
And I love the daily chocolates from my Advent calendar.
I always anticipate my Advent calendar. Each and every year, without fail my mother would do the honor of purchasing my calendar (yes, even to this day I will not buy my own calendar as it comes from my mother). It's the Advent calendars with winter scenes, idyllic children, Santa all red and cheery, trees and lights, and beneath each and every door, from December 1st through the 24th, a sweet, savory chocolate.
I'm not a generally patient person in much else in my life (you can ask my family that I've been known to divulge secrets due to my excitement and unwrap and wrap again presents to see what gifts I was receiving) but during Advent I relish the chance to open a door, day after day, one by one, and cherish that one piece of chocolate each morning.
Now, don't get any grand ideas of this pastor's deep Advent piety. There are no experiences of prayerfully opening each door or blessing the day. No, I simply open the calendar each morning and eat my piece of chocolate.
It's a beginning. It's a start.
On the first day of December, as in so many years past, I will open the door leading to my first chocolate of the season. It will occur in the morning, even before breakfast. Day after day another door unlocked to another chocolate.
So what does all this chocolate have to do with Advent? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps I just like chocolate and the self-control it takes to have only one piece a day for 24 days. Or perhaps, just maybe, this daily ritual of opening the door and enjoying a piece of sweetness is just one glimpse into the life of faith. Could it be that I need the reminders, especially this year, that there is goodness in the world? Could it be that the memories and joys from Advent pasts are enough to sustain me during the holidays?
Yet, maybe I just need to know that the month will be over and in the end the One I've been waiting for has already been waiting for me.