Photo Credit: Ryan Klinck

Photo Credit: Ryan Klinck

By: Andrea Lingle

…the earth was a formless void…

Advent is a journey of preparation, and either I am not that good at preparation or it is really hard. There are just so many contingencies to consider. For instance, if I plan to go hiking, I am going to need to bring: six water bottles, four kid outfits, four extra pairs of kid shoes, several towels, at least eighteen granola bars, sunscreen, six hats, bug spray (just kidding...I am NEVER that prepared), a camera, and, probably, a first aid kit. And my phone. And the dog’s leash and baggies. And a sketch pad. And a field guide.

Sometimes it is just easier to just show up, unprepared, and experience what happens in the unplanned corners of life.

Perhaps that is a better path for Advent. Perhaps we should dispense with the lighting of candles and the counting of Sundays. After all, what are be preparing for? Aren’t we following a wandering Messiah? Jesus didn’t lug around enough food for five thousand everywhere he went.

Does this wandering way prone to chaos and uncertainty even lend itself to preparation, or should we just put our foot in the road without hat or pocket handkerchief?

Perhaps the preparation of Advent is not so much a gathering of needful things or a packing of first aid kits but a willingness to peer into the formless void. Perhaps Advent insists that to walk in the dust of the Rabbi Jesus, we must be prepared to confront the chaos that has been here since the beginning and take the next step anyway.

This is the question that the autumn leaf faces. Will it meet winter as annihilation or as a cycle of death and resurrection. The Incarnation gave chaos a new meaning. The embodiment of what was there in the formless void has been revealed to be that which quickens our lives toward love, compassion, and kindness.

Advent remains as a question—an invitation. In the beginning the earth was a formless void . . . will you dance?