Advent 2022

The Wisdom of Advent

Learning to Wait: Introduction

The liturgical season of Advent begins on Sunday. Advent may be something new to you. Or it may be something you’ve heard about but bypass in the frantic rush to prepare for Christmas. Or, it could be that you intend to do something meaningful for Advent, but life gets in the way, and it’s the middle of Advent before you realize that you never quite got around to starting something. Whatever your situation this year, I invite you to make the four weeks leading up to Christmas a slower, more intentional experience.

The word “Advent” comes from a Latin word meaning “arrival.” Advent is a season in the Christian church calendar that is a period of spiritual preparation for the birth of Christ. We celebrate His birth as well as His ongoing presence with us and anticipate Christ’s second coming at the end of time.

One of the symbols of this season is the Advent wreath. Typically this consists of a circle of greenery with four candles. Usually, the candles include three purple tapers and one rose pink colored taper. One additional candle is lit each Sunday. So you’ll see one candle lit on the first Sunday of Advent and all four candles lit on the final, fourth Sunday of Advent.

At its core, Advent is essentially a season of waiting. Since this is such a central aspect of the Christian tradition, there is abundant wisdom to teach us how to wait well. Waiting is an inevitable part of life, particularly as we get older, so developing skills in this area can be extremely practical. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German theologian) succinctly captures why recognizing and celebrating Advent continues to be so important. He reminds us, “Celebrating Advent means being able to wait. Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten.”1

Many of us may already be living in a season of waiting this year. It could be that your life coincides with the liturgical season of Advent, and you’re waiting to welcome God into your heart and life in a new way. Or maybe you’re waiting for a milestone – retirement, moving to a new home, or starting a new job. Or perhaps you’re feeling stuck and worn down after years of waiting for “normal” life to resume and the Covid pandemic to be over.

Advent wisdom on waiting can help with all of these types of waiting, but perhaps it is most needed for the times of complicated waiting when both the amount of time and the future it will bring are largely unknown. I invite you to use the Advent season this year to focus on your experience of waiting and explore the mixed emotions and challenges you are facing.

Together we will explore what Advent can teach us, in a practical way, about waiting. The four weeks of Advent encompass four specific themes: hope, love, joy, and peace. I’ll offer a new blog post each day during these four weeks. On Sundays, there will be a reflection on waiting related to the theme for that week. Monday through Friday, I’ll offer a shorter reflection that focuses on one specific aspect of the weekly theme and provides some questions for reflection (if you are inclined, you might want to journal with these questions). On Saturdays, I’ll provide a prayer.

Although I often have good intentions about doing something to make Advent meaningful, it always arrives before I’ve taken the time to prepare for it. And once we’re in December, it’s very easy to skip the introspective (and more uncomfortable) focus on waiting and get caught up in a whirlwind of preparations, events, and parties to celebrate Christmas. If this sounds familiar to you, and you’re now struggling with some experience of waiting, I hope this series of reflections helps you feel more comfortable with the essentially uncomfortable process of waiting.


1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger, 4.


  1. I will wait patiently for your next post! I admire your commitment, Tacky. A daily blog post is challenging at times to read; I can’t imagine the discipline required to actually write one daily.


    1. The plan was to have all the posts written by the time Advent started! I’m not quite there yet, but close to it. So you’ll see a post each day but they have been written in advance (to hopefully be consistent and connected with the theme for the week).


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