One of my favorite Advent traditions is the Advent calendar. As a kid I loved the moment when I found that day’s window, popped it open and revealed what was inside.
There was something sacred about the daily ritual of opening the calendar window and receiving its gift. As a child it was often too hard to wait and I would take a “2 for 1” day, opening several windows in one sitting. When my son was three years old he took “2 for 1” to a whole new level and cleaned out two Advent calendars of their chocolate in one sitting. At first, the other kids were mad at him, but then they realized he was little and cute and actually the scene was hilarious. His hands and face were a mess, he sat in a pile of torn cardboard on chocolate stained carpeting and offered us a living testimony to the joy of the season.
Time passes and the act of living changes us in varied ways. Faithful living calls us to pay attention to the details and the virtues of life, it enables us to find joy in patient waiting and anticipation. Spiritual growth happens as we practice the rewarding discipline of delayed gratification. As Christians we believe that all of our life-experience is imbued with purpose and meaning which is somehow revealed in the life-story of Jesus of Nazareth. The image of the Advent calendar offers us the promise of little gifts in each day. Gifts, which represent our daily bread, sufficient enough for today and portioned to leave us hungry for the blessing of tomorrow.
May you go into each day of this Advent season seeking, finding and opening little windows. May you find the faith to savor the gifts they reveal. And may you find a true sense that in each moment we are moving closer to the day of Immanuel, the celebration of God with us, forever. Amen