I was sick last week. O.M.G. I had the flu. It was a sudden onset such as I had never experienced in my life. One minute I was fine, and the next I was asking someone, “Are you cold?” And within minutes, I was shivering and shaking as if I was sitting in a snow bank with no coat on. It was an unnatural kind of cold that felt like I had ice water running through my veins. I didn’t know what was wrong; but I knew, for sure, that something was not right.
I learned later that there is a strain of flu which is presenting in that manner for a lot of people. In fact, as I sat in Urgent Care, a gentleman came in and I heard him tell the receptionist he was cold and it was “not normal.” I knew exactly what he meant.
As we’ve been preparing for our celebration of Advent, I have heard that there are many in our community who, like me, were not raised observing it and are sure what it’s about. The way that I think of it is that there are two times in the liturgical year - that is the year according to the Christian calendar - when, traditionally, the church is called upon to sort of “go back in time,” to when sacred, history-making events were unfolding. Lent is one of those times. During the forty days leading up to Easter, we spend time intentionally focused on Jesus’ last weeks on Earth. The idea is to “walk with Him to Calvary,” in preparation for celebrating His resurrection. We anticipate a resurgence of resurrection power, in our lives and our church, when Easter finally arrives.
Advent is the other similar tradition; where, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we “go back” and intentionally take on a spirit of anticipation and expectancy of the arrival of the Christ child. For me, it is a time of reflection about what the birth of Jesus means for me, in my life, and for the world. We anticipate a renewal and resurgence of Christ’s presence, in our lives and our church, when Christmas arrives.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t always get it. My logical mind asked, “How do you anticipate something that has already happened?”