I find that my body is attuned to seasons. After 29 years of fall, spring, winter, and summer, I expect each season to come, in that order. When one season is done, I am ready for the next one. I never quite realized it until I began living in a place in which those seasons are different.
Here, it is currently winter, and still the rainy season. It gets chilly enough at night for me to wear pants, and sometimes even a sweatshirt. But I find it difficult to remember that Christmas is coming when it doesn’t feel like winter. There are Christmas trees (plastic, of course), Christmas lights, Christmas songs playing in stores, and people talking about Christmas. But without the cold, without sweaters and snow and fires in the fireplace, my body is confused. (P.S. Listen to some Christmas songs and tell me how many reference cold weather- it is astounding!)
How much of my experience of Advent, and Christmas, is wrapped up in familiarity, tradition, season, commercialism, hype, even?
I find myself needing to be more intentional about cultivating the expectation and excitement of the season. Here, I need to work harder to remember what I am preparing for, and that I am preparing for something at all. This has been a good thing, as long as I don’t get lazy. It brings me back to the basics- the simple “yes” of a young mother, the coming of a baby boy, Emmanuel, the joy of God With Us.
Sometimes being jarred out of our familiarity can be a good thing.
Above: Just some pretty tropical birds- green jays, in fact (courtesy of Jon Schelander-Pugh, former CCSP staff member)