Advent 2018: PART III
This year, Fall was rough. Personal troubles, new and old, boiled up around me. Health problems, conflicts, tricky relationships, and just plain exhaustion defined the season. “Advent is coming,” I kept telling myself. “There will be time to reflect and mourn. I can engage all this because He came, and He will come again.” I made a decision to think deeply, pray, and practice repentance.
Repentance is a major aspect of Advent preparation for Jesus’ coming. John the Baptist was “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’...” (John 1:23). He called for people to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) When we look up for the coming Rescuer King, we immediately become aware that we are not fit for His arrival. We are bloody; we are abusers; we are sinners. Repentance is required. In my first years of Advent observance, longing was enough; having a use for all my angst and sorrow was enough, a huge relief after years of cheery fakery and false displays of self-sufficiency. But this year, I knew it was time to move toward a dedicated season of repentance.
Repentance is a path through dense woods. It is layered with bittersweet pain, pleasure, and hope. Confession says: “I’m the woman! I did it! I do it still!” Repentance says: “I’m the woman! I did it! I do it still, but no more! I’m forgiven! I’m filled with power to change!” During the week leading up to the first Sunday of Advent, I began to cringe a bit. The coming season of repentance, of slowing down and asking God to “see if there be any grievous way in me” (Psalm 139:23) AND expecting Him to do it, of “looking for trouble,” loomed intimidatingly. I had an appointment for some kind of healthy, necessary, beneficial, but totally uncomfortable spiritual colonoscopy. I marched toward it anyway.
PART IV for the weekend!