The Renewal of Advent

I’m not going to lie—the past week has been hectic. Stressful, I’m inclined to say, though the word “stress” holds a negative connotation. It’s a good hectic, but also overwhelming. I’ve been focusing a lot on myself and forget the needs of others; my mind has short-circuited in the middle of conversations. And that’s after God has taken on a lot of the burden.

Recently, I accepted a new job to begin next week. It’s a wonderful position—I’ll be helping to create Christian children’s books. For years I’ve wondered how I could use my career skills for God, and the moment I learned of this position I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It seemed perfect for me. Apparently my future employer thought so, too, because it was only a matter of days that I received the offer. As a result, I’ve also signed a lease on a new apartment to be closer to it—which I move into in four days. Life has been little but packing boxes, running out of packing tape, and crying to my friends about how hard this is.

But this is the time it was supposed to happen.

We learned of Advent at RCIA this week. I’m fully aware what month it is, I thought, thinking of the move and the job, on top of Christmas itself. I know it’s Advent. But, to borrow a phrase from our prayer service:

It can be tempting to think that, because we may be struggling these days, we can’t enter into Advent without a big change in our mood or without distancing ourselves from our real experience. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, I’m busy right now. I’m constantly distracted. I don’t feel prepared for anything. But that’s okay. This season isn’t about our being perfect—it’s about God revealing Himself to us, just as we are. And wherever we are in our life’s journey.

If there is struggle in our lives, then we want to acknowledge that before God and let that struggle be the door into Advent’s graces.

I may not prefer uprooting my life during December. And, yes, it’s all happening just when God intended for it to happen. But this year, it’s more than that. It’s not only a new beginning for my career, but it’s also a new beginning for my faith. Last week we celebrated the Rite of Welcome, in which the Church formally acknowledged my journey to become one of its own. It’s no coincidence that it’s the same time as my career shift, and my life shift, and of Advent itself.

Sometimes I get nervous. It’s a lot of change at once. But I know the Spirit is guiding me, because I’m not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. Now, in the midst of of the “stress,” is the perfect time for Advent to begin.