Advent 1: Interruption and Disappointment

What if we found new words for our Advent candle-lighting wreaths this year? Instead of the traditional Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, what words would you choose to mark each week in this season of waiting?

Two words jump out at me, jostling each other to get at the matches. Interruption and Disappointment shout, “Pick me! Pick me!”

So I’ll begin with both.

Life as usual will be interrupted to prepare my heart and home to celebrate Christmas. How do I feel about that? I don’t usually like interruptions, especially when I have so much to do. But a funny thing happens sometimes when I’m interrupted and happens more and more as I age. My attention is turned to something else, and I forget what I was doing. I find myself enjoying what interrupted me.

I was interrupted from answering a time-sensitive email one evening when Fred let me know dinner was ready. He poured me a glass of wine and lit a fire in the fireplace. It was so lovely, I completely forgot about the email until the next day. And it turned out fine. No one was disappointed.

Disappointment. Yes, I hear you, I feel you. You show up, first as frustration, then as judgment, and then you finally come out of hiding. When you do, I realize I had expected more from someone or something than was possible. You often show up with your cousin Interruption; the way I wanted life to play out got interrupted by life as it is.

Owning my disappointments helps me turn from resentment to compassion for myself and my tendency to criticize–and for others and their own disappointments around their tendencies.

Thank you, Interruption. Thank you, Disappointment. Thank you for turning my attention from achieving and performing, to receiving and forgiving.

Thank you, God, for making space in me to receive you.

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before… .What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s presence fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.
-Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas

* * *

Some Advent Love Mischief:

  • What in your life has been interrupted by Advent this year? How do you feel about that? What goes on in you as you hold these feelings in this season of hope?
  • What disappointments do you carry? How do they make themselves known to you? How might they help you receive our Saviour?
Credits and References:
“The First Sunday of Advent” by Susanne Nilsson. Used with permission.
“Home Fore 5” by anoldent. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
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