This time last year, I shared an archived post called 'The Advent Window' for It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday. Because Advent presents such an ideal opportunity for sharing Christ with others, I'm now revisiting this anew.
My 'Advent Window' opened when I was twenty years old. I was in what I call my 'God doesn't bother me and I don't bother Him' phase. There was so much to do... friends to hang out with, boys to date, parties to go to. I took no time to think about God; in fact, I was ignoring Him altogether.
God, however, was 'thinking' of me, and began reminding me of Himself through a series of little seasonal things. A song heard on the radio, a nativity scene featured on the courthouse steps, Christmas songs piped into stores to draw customers, strains of O Come Let Us Adore Him wedged between Have a Holly Jolly Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus. One song in particular stood out to me that year, with its announcement that 'Jesus the Savior is Born.' I didn't know what was happening to me when I heard those five simple words on the radio. I only knew my heart felt strangely warmed.
I've heard discussions about whether or not Christmas should be celebrated before the 25th. After all, it's still Advent. In the Church, it is a time for quiet, for prayer, for gentle shades of purple. In the physical monastery, hearts wait in hushed anticipation.
But most of us live out in the red and green neon of the world. We're where bells jingle, songs jangle, nerves frazzle, patience frays. Because of my long ago 'Advent window,' however, I believe these weeks before Christmas bring rare moments when the love of Christ can be smoothly shared with neighbors, co-workers, family members, store clerks, acquaintances, friends.
In the midst of a secular, godless, 'we're-doing-fine-by-ourselves' world, there appears in this one season a window of opportunity. There is a slot, a crack in the Everyday. A few short weeks during which the whisper of God might be heard through carol or card.
In recent years, we have seen that crack narrow. The courthouse steps of my youth haven't seen a nativity display in years. But even now, somewhere between shoppers lined up for black Friday and the queues awaiting after-Christmas sales, there is still a window of opportunity. A time when someone rushing through a store might catch the strains of an old familiar carol, one she's heard every Christmas since childhood. Yet this time, the words sound different. She remembers a Babe in a manger, and her heart is strangely warmed.
This is a season when we can smoothly and naturally acknowledge (like at no other time) the One Who was born for us. After all, few friends would toss out cards that have nativity scenes on them. Neighbors visiting our homes won't be offended by the words of 'Silent Night.' It's all just part of the season, part of the holidays, part of the fun.
The Church will begin Christmas music and celebrations on the 25th. But out here in the world, the Advent window is now wide open.
This is when scenes and songs normally found only in Church can spill out into the world.
And who knows? Someone years from now might look back on a card you or I sent this season, and recall that 2016 was her own special Advent. We just never know.
This is a repost from our archives. It is linked to Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for 'It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday.'text © TheCloisteredHeart.org
The following video captures (externally) what can happen to us (internally) when the Advent Window begins to crack open...