Here it comes. The first few snowflakes falling outside my window – the weather reporters call it a “wintry mess.” From where I sit, it looks more pretty than messy. So far.
It’s all perspective, though, isn’t it? From the warmth of my at-home office, those white crystals look no more menacing than a Christmas scene in a glass snow globe someone picked up as a bored distraction and turned over once to create a slow puff of white. But it’s a whole other story for the guy inside the globe whose world just got turned upside down.
Advent is like that. It comes upon us in quiet prettiness, all fairy lights and ornaments and snow as light as feather-dust. All this quaint loveliness while we wait. And yet there is something unwelcome in it, something that disturbs.
The dictionary says advent means “the coming into place, view, or being; arrival.” Coming into view… Like sitting in a horse-drawn carriage (very Currier & Ives), watching a red farm house get larger and larger as the horse drags us closer on our merry way (jingle bells and all). But really, the house hasn’t gotten any bigger. It hasn’t changed, we have. Our perspective changes, intentionally or not, as we are pulled closer to the door of the house, the entrance to another experience, from the hushed outside quiet of snow and breath-clouds in cold air to the burst and bustling of noisy warm hugs and “quick come inside.”
There’s so much about Advent, about this “coming into view”, that feels out of our control. I suppose it is grace. It is grace that we are not left to our own devices, that Christmas comes with or without our participation or permission, that our world will be turned upside down outside of our impetus.
And nothing can turn a world upside down quite so well as a baby. He’s coming into view now, the One sent to make a wintry mess of our prettiness, and turn our world back right-side up.
Wait for it…