Photo by Federico Beccari

I don’t know your connection or experience with the Advent season, but I can’t say that I’ve ever really celebrated it in a concerted way. I haven’t intentionally engaged in any observance of Advent. This year is a little different. I’ve sort of fallen into Advent as I see it.

I’m not sure I can articulate whether or not engaging in the deconstruction oft the foundations of one’s life during Advent has been a positive experience. I can tell you that I understand creative tension in a way that I never could before and tension for me begins to get at the heart of Advent — as well as deconstruction.

As I understand it, Advent is both the remembrance of the first arrival of the Christ and the looking forward to God’s return to earth. Advent is the palpable season that can be summed up as the now and yet to come.

In Advent, I am presented with a reality that is beyond simplistic dualism. I begin to see the reality that embraces tension, that strains the seams of my acute understanding and lovingly confronts my blindness. The question is do I want to see?

Deconstruction, similarly, is the process of building by undoing. It certainly feels that the foundation of my life — much of it at least — is still being undone, unmade. I feel feeble, fragile. I see death and destruction, but this is the beginning and even the midst of new life — resurrection. Wait, this isn’t Easter! Yes, but stay with me a moment longer.

Advent is in a sense a death and resurrection of the human existence. I will contend that Advent, the birth of God as a baby, marked they day that grace became truly a way of life. I believe the birth of Jesus was the day that perfect love returned to earth as a gift for all who dared receive.

Hope. Love. Joy. Peace.

I see hope as a hand closed around the gifts of yesterday and a hand opened to the impossibilities of tomorrow. It is seeing the brokenness of yesterday that brought what seemed impossible goodness at the time and being willing to accept what today seems impossible that God will turn into the improbable gifts we receive tomorrow.

Love is a giving and a receiving. Love is gentle and firm. Love accepts, sees, feels. Love sears, cracks, shatters, and heals. Love gives, gives, and gives. Love is the manifestation of the Divine every day, in the big and small. Love is so beyond. I cannot describe; I wish to defame it no more.

Joy is a happiness of the soul in the midst of loss. Joy is the recognition of what we have or had, maybe who we are, when we see what isn’t or what we’ve lost. Joy is the tears that bring a smile emanating from the heart. Joy is kintsugi. It creates a new kind of perfection out of what was once ugly brokenness.

Peace or shalom is the light in the midst of shadow; wholeness. Peace does not deny the conflict. Peace is not there to ignore the hurt and the pain. No, peace is the transfiguration of the conflict, the hurt, the pain, once they are subjected to light. Peace is meeting God and stepping — perhaps with significant reservation — into Reality. Peace is David standing in front of Goliath, rock in hand.

If you at all feel conflicted, please lean into the tension. You are not alone. If you should fall, I believe you are falling into Reality. You are not destined to endless dark, eternal hopelessness. Perhaps, Advent is all about falling — a falling that finally leads humanity to its feet. So fall. There is space. Feel. Question. You are safe. Love. Hope. Joy. Peace. Be. I wish you grace, friend.