Even before the Hallowe’en masks disappeared, Christmas merchandise appeared in the stores. Every time fresh snow fell the song, It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas jingled in my head; and we had snow in September, so it’s been awhile. Thinking about the season of advent, I wondered if adventure shared the root word. With the ease of Google search, I found out that advenire ‘arrive’ meaning the arrival of something is at the core of both.
Advent is defined as: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event, while adventure is an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. For many children Christmas is exciting, while parents can dread the season. The expectancy of something big happening fills the air. But, for people in grief, or challenging life circumstances, it is not the most wonderful time of the year. And if Santa Claus is the only one coming to town for December 25, I’m not sticking around for it. (Bah, Humbug!)
In the far past, I thoroughly enjoyed December, and more recently I have rekindled a love of the Christmas season, coming out of a ten year mark of a world turned upside down, with personal catastrophic events that made the Christmas of 2005 my most dreaded ever. The Christmas that mocked me with All hearts come home for Christmas, the first Christmas that two of my three children were not on this planet, the first Christmas without my husband … I feel a strong kinship with the Biblical descriptor of The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned … The dawning of light, is the beginning of hope. The beginning of the great adventure of Emmanuel … God with us … through thick and thin, through darkness and light.
This year as I light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope I reflect on the Hope that has carried me through a passage of grief, to a new shore. A stumbling towards beauty and grace.
Hope is a choice, Hope has given me my voice to question to doubt, to scream and shout Hope has been in the midst as a spark as a river, a cause to shiver Hope behind, hope before as it opens and shuts the door. The taste of hope and I want more … More of the source, more of truth, more of the grace it has given I want hope on this earth … and a taste of Heaven.
Emily Dickinson says, Hope is the thing with feathers/ that perches in the soul. Does that make hope flighty? Or does it means it visits, when I need it most? Hope is a choice I can make. For me the source of the Hope is the litmus test of its worthiness. It is easy to miss the meaning of Christmas; it has been turned into numbers of shopping days left, and pre-Christmas boxing day sales. May you also have some adventure in your advent season … we settle for tinsel when we could have eternity …
A favourite Advent song of mine is Ready My Heart by Steve Bell. My apologies if the link does not work.
Jocelyn is author of Who is Talking out of My Head, Grief as an out of Body Experience