Do you consciously know when something is beginning? Not the obvious things like a game or school year, but the less clearly labeled beginnings – the start of a friendship, the first time you eat a food that will become your favorite, or the initial viewing of a movie that will become part of your go-to repertoire on a lazy afternoon.
Those beginnings are important to me. As much as I try to fight it, I’m a reflective, introspective kind of a guy a lot of the time. Dare I say it, I’m a brooder. I sit on things and replay them over and over again in my head. I doubt my actions and wish for do-overs.
In spite of this, I try to present myself to the world as the type of person who acts based on whimsy and the desire for a new experience – someone who is at ease and lives without a care in the world. That’s the person I want people to see but quickly fail at the task, devolving into my normal guarded, nervous, border collie like personality. I’m constantly looking, thinking, herding the people, things, and ideas all around me to put them in their neat little places so nothing ends up in the wrong spot.
Which is why I want observable, marked, noticed beginnings. I want to know that something just happened and it is about trigger a chain of events that will lead to some kind of outcome. I want beginnings, middles, and ends.
And this year, I’m done with beginnings and want to know the ending. I want to put things in their place quickly and get on with it. I want to get to the good part.
As a Christian, I hate reading passages in scripture that tell me to stop worrying and don’t stress over when and how things will happen. How can I not? How can anyone NOT worry, plan, prepare, and look ahead?
I’m done with this whole “Advent” thing. To recognize the coming of God EVENTUALLY. The Incarnation EVENTUALLY. The return of Jesus EVENTUALLY.
Nope. Not having it this year.
I want Christmas and, if I had my way, Easter immediately following.
I love the tv show Northern Exposure. I am the proud owner of every episode of that fantastic series and I can watch them whenever I want, in any order, any episode I feel like.
I inevitably watch “The Quest” over and over again. For those uninitiated in the world of Cicely, AK, “The Quest” was the last episode with Dr. Joel Fleischman, played by the fantastic Rob Morrow. That ending is phenomenal and I love the way he walks into the woods and disappears into NYC. Amazing. No joke, it makes me cry every time.
But I like it so much because of the beginning of the show. There is a clear arc that is obvious and builds off the previous years of shows. That episode should have the biggest impact on someone who doesn’t know it’s coming, someone seeing it for the first time after journeying with those lovable characters for six seasons. I’d argue that I feel it more than they do. It evokes such a strong reaction in because I know what is going to happen. I know the end and it doesn’t ruin it for me.
I don’t have to watch all the earlier episodes first. I’m already there.
I don’t need to wonder if Joel will ever go home. I know the ending and I love it that much more.
I don’t want to pretend I don’t know what’s going to happen.
That’s Advent for me this year.
I’m done. I know the ending and I want the ending. I’ve been in a dark place these past couple of weeks and the sunshine of Christmas, Immanuel, God with us, sounds pretty good right now. It sounds a ton better than the Gospel of Mark and his lack of birth narrative, or verses about the always positive John the Baptist (Happy Advent, you BROOD OF VIPERS!), or the build up to the big day.
Let it be Christmas when I wake up tomorrow.