This weekend we celebrate all the gratitudes of life. We take advantage of leftover turkey sandwiches, football, family and fall crispness to restore our souls before we go back to work. For some who practice the Christian faith, post-Thanksgiving also signifies the arrival of Advent.
Beginning in the 4th or 5th century in Spain, Advent was a time of clearing and centering oneself – a bit like the reset we consider for the New Year. Much like today, people of every time period have waited for their release from bondage, for political structures to change, for the promise of salvation from the pain of life and death, and for portions of our lives to experience a reset.
In life, we wait. We wait for school to end, for careers to start, or re-start. We wait for babies to arrive, and loved ones to pass. We wait for the bus to come, the mail to be delivered, or the dog to finish its business as we shiver in pre-dawn temperatures, standing impatiently in our pajamas, slippers and winter coat. Everyday we wait.
Waiting is some of the hardest work we do. The most difficult things we wait for can have the most important consequences. We wait for lab results to return, relationships to be restored, for love to be kindled. In Advent, we dedicate time to acknowledge the very human experience of waiting.
Sometimes we wait to complete our sorrow, other times to celebrate our joy. How we experience this waiting impacts our sense of well-being. Over the next few weeks of Advent, we will talk about waiting and how it can become a restorative practice rather than a time we cross our arms, roll our eyes and tap our toes with impatience. What are you waiting for? How can you combine the gratitude of this present moment of Thanksgiving, and allow it to gently move into and cover this time of Advent? Perhaps gratitude is the first lesson of waiting…