An Advent Reflection
Authored by Pam Smith of St. Jude's Episcopal Church, Niceville
December offers us joyous reflections, meditations, and songs while often highlighting uncertainties of life- its relationships, its time, and its infinite unknowns. Christmas is not a single, endless Hallmark event, is it?
Sometimes I long to have another Christmas with my grandparents and often, during this time of year, I dream of Mama and Dada. I dream of a Christmas Eve night sleeping with Mama because she wanted to hear Santa with me. I dream of the fried bacon that Dada cooked within five minutes of his way-too-early, waking time every Christmas morning. The bacon’s scent quickly spread throughout the concrete block house sitting on Highway 90 between Cottondale and Marianna. As I moved towards the kitchen, I knew that Santa had found us yet again at Mama and Dada’s house, with its Santa and reindeer on the roof and its NOEL candles on the small, front porch.
Mama and Dada always waited for our arrival to decorate for Christmas. Sometimes we were driving from Stillwater, Oklahoma, where my father attended Oklahoma State while in the US Air Force. Sometimes we travelled from Patrick Air Force Base or somewhere close like Eglin or Tyndall. It did not matter where or what time our trip began. We knew that Mama and Dada would be waiting for us as they prepared for our anticipated arrival.
2020 has been a year of waiting - waiting for answers, waiting for the pandemic to be over, waiting to return to in-person worship, waiting for people to be well, waiting for relief, waiting for school, waiting for work, and waiting for the waiting to cease. This Advent we wait for its reminders of God’s love in our pandemic-ridden world without peace.
As we wait to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we wait not just for ourselves, but for others to see Jesus, too. How are we preparing as we wait for our welcome of our Savior? Does Advent have a recurring, consistent, love-driven message for me? Am I quiet enough to hear the 2020 messages of Advent that God wants to share with me?
We anticipate God’s love, not just for ourselves, but for our world that needs the love and hope that Jesus brought to earth for us. This Advent I thankfully wait for Him as He continues to wait for me with love, promise, and hope.