Tonight my dad and I decorated my parents' Christmas tree (we're taking a tree break at our house this year on account of the new-ish canine) and then my mom and I ate soup and grilled cheese sandwiches at the kitchen table while the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas sauntered along in the background.
I cherish the chance to live close to my parents as an adult, the lovely feeling of unwrapping familiar ornaments with Dad, remembering the past but not dripping with nostalgia, because though the chapter of childhood has closed, a new one has opened, and it's just as meaningful. Sitting at the kitchen table where I came down to start high school days with so many questions and nerves and wonderings about how life would turn out--and now, it's far from fully turned out, but parts of life have begun to reveal themselves more than they had at 16. And now I experience waiting and curiosity about new things, new hopes and concerns blossom with every sunrise, once again unpacking them at the same table with my mother.
Maybe life is a series of Advents: expectation after expectation, fulfillment after fulfillment--with plenty that don't wrap up in a neat and tidy package. Expectation and failure, expectation and uncertainty, expectation that expects the worst. We're almost always in the throes of some waiting period no matter where we are, often only able to find out the answer if we live into it, the feedback loop of daily mundane life somehow starting to add up to deep, soul-mattering stuff.
When Advent arrives, we recognize it. We yearn for it. Because truly, we're always within it. The waiting. And we need a reminder, in the cold and darkness (the perfect time for this season to exist), that no matter what we're waiting on, a resolution will arrive. Fulfillment will set itself loose in the air. All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
And while we're waiting, we pray for a sturdy table where we can talk it over, surrounded by kindreds who are always part of our answer, no matter what reveals itself in time.