This week has been the first of the Advent season. In my faith tradition, it is the time of waiting and anticipation for the Christ to come. And yet, I have had great trouble looking forward.
We think of Christmas as a time of coming together, but most of my friends are leaving, and I will not see them again until well past the traditional twelve days of Christmas. A friend and colleague died this week, finally losing his battle with cancer. And I must struggle, after months of the push and shove, trials and joys of teaching, to shift gears for a few weeks to rest and less stressful projects. When I imagine it, the rest is easy; when the time comes, I'm a mess.
Many are not aware that in the early days of Christianity, Christmas was not a major feast day. The time most honored was Easter, the celebration of the resurrection. Now even the good and wholesome aspects of the holiday bring stress, so many find the whole month difficult.
I know I don't want to think about death so much, even with awareness of the end of the story, where life comes back and blooms. But I suppose that's what faith is about. You hold on because better is coming, all evidence to contrary.