We feel alone.
But they tell tales. They tell that the light will dawn. They say that the light returns long and the chills will dissipate and there will be comfort and hope.
And so we choose to believe.
We prepare room -- in our hearts and in our homes. We light candles to tell silently the story of coming light. We examine the dark corners in spite of fear of what lurks there. We sweep them clean and even enter the distant rooms where the sounds threaten. We clean them too, unafraid. Sin and dirt and clutter swept away and we trust the light will shine in those heart and home places and purify them with cleansing warmth and the promised Spring will come.
We plump pillows and bake cookies and lay runners on the mantle. A guest is coming; we prepare him room. We speak sins and show kindness and grant grace and forgiveness. We stand the tree of sticks and hang symbols upon it and tell each other the ancient stories of the promises of the coming of the light. All the while we huddle together when night falls in the black of winter and trust that light will pierce the darkness and we'll be saved from late hours spent stepping gingerly through room of black night.
As we draw closer to the promise time, a star appears shot through darkness and then we know. We know we were right to trust in a Savior from the darkness. We gather round the crib waiting, trusting. Peace descends. We have hope. Hope will take flesh.
...and that is Advent.
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