As I write this and we approach celebrating Thanksgiving in the United States in just a few days, many of us are reminded we are also approaching the traditional season of Advent that marks a month-long celebration moving toward Christmas. But some of us may not be sure of how to sort that out this year in the midst of the continuing pandemic and find celebrating either holiday more challenging.
We have been waiting for this pandemic to end, for life to return to the “normal” that we knew before it all started. Most of us thought it would be subsiding by now after missing spring, summer, and autumn events. We may have forgotten what the meaning of Advent is and into this confusing and dark time comes a new book by Mary Geisen, The Advent Narrative, to open our eyes to a deeper understanding of not only what this traditional season means, but also what it means to be Advent people.
What does it mean for us in 2020?
Mary’s book reminds us that the word “advent” is derived from a Latin word that means “coming.” Most of us would look at that and nod our heads in agreement as we traditionally celebrate the birth of Jesus during this time, but we have forgotten something significant that makes all the difference.
“This time we are in marks the “not yet” between the birth of Jesus and His return. You and I are living in Advent as we work, play, and grow. We are an Advent people.”Mary Geisen in The Advent Narrative
From this understanding Mary’s book takes us on an Advent journey structured like a play containing acts, scenes, and “tableaus.” Her words guide the reader to consider how to live best in the time of “not yet,” in the waiting for the Advent of the Lord’s return, not just looking over our shoulder at the first Advent.
I doubt Mary knew what this season would be like when the Lord gave her the vision for this new book, but it would be just like Him to lead her to write a book that is right on time for where we are. This year is a time to look beyond what we traditionally do or consider at Advent, to look more deeply into this “not yet” time and who we are in the midst of it.
Mary is a lover of books and stories and her format tells a powerful story of hope and light in the midst of confusion and despair, wilderness and loss.
“As a believer you can trust that God takes an ending and opens a new door that leads you home. He walks you right through that intersection and shows you the way you should go.”Mary Geisen in The Advent Narrative
The Advent Narrative reminds us this is a season (albeit a longer one) and that it will not last forever even though we do not know when it will end.
“Our journey as an Advent people will take us through multiple seasons of waiting in the wilderness. Life is like that.”Mary Geisen in The Advent Narrative
What and how should we be preparing for Advent, not only the celebration of the birth of Jesus, but the second Advent, His return?
If you guessed there is more than lighting Advent candles, decking the halls, and hanging wreaths while we look back over our shoulder, then you won’t want to miss getting a copy of Mary’s book and letting her invite you into a very personal journey of discovery of what it means for you to be an Advent person.
“Advent is not a look into the past but a way into the future.”Mary Geisen in The Advent Narrative
This might be a book you think of as a gift for someone but make it a gift for yourself first to enrich this season of “not yet” as we wait in so many ways. Let us not miss the most significant thing we are waiting for and when you discover it, then share it with others so their way will be lighter and filled with the hope that can only come from the One who came that first Advent more than 2,000 years ago.