It was 6:30 a.m. December 1st. The alarm went off and I pressed “snooze” for the third time. The house was silent, the windows enshrouded in shadow. Waking up in darkness is just so hard, I thought, rolling over.
Waking up in darkness.
I’m terrible at it in the mornings. And we’re terrible at it in life.
We just want to skip to the part about light — so badly sometimes that we light up our Christmas trees as soon as possible or go driving around town to view lights or even engage in spectacles like The Great Christmas Light Fight. We want our questions to be answered like our text messages, our grief to be gone rather than gone through, our darkness to lift like a light switch.
But what if we looked at Christmas (maybe even looked at life) less like a light switch and more like a sunrise?
It starts with darkness. Durations of deep darkness. We wake up in the darkness of dawn, proceeding to stir and stretch and trust that the sun will come again as it always does. Then, slowly, the light comes around the edges of the window, through the blinds, into our blindness, into our lives.
In Advent, we light candles one at a time. We open little cardboard flaps on Advent calendars one day at a time for nearly a month.
In these ways and more, Advent, which literally means “to come,” is teaching me to take my time with the whole Christmas thing. It’s teaching me to go ahead and experience darkness and know that the light of Christ is yet to come.
I’ll still complain about waking up in the darkness. But, the hope of Christ, the gift of God, is that our complaining can turn into carols. That our darkness is turning into light.