Movement 1: Orientation
I feel my toes first – they’re toasty under the thick comforter. The early morning light has bathed my room in the soft glow of dawn, the colour of a teaspoon of turmeric swirled into coconut milk.
My eyes adjust to the glow and it takes me a few minutes for me to re-orient myself. Mirages of the night’s dreams meld with what I know of reality, and my mind slowly sorts through them.
Movement 2: Consecration
Reluctant to leave the cocoon I have made for myself over the course of the night, yet too hot to remain much longer, my body curls up into a fetal position.
It is here that the first prayer of the day happens. It’s a phrase if I make it to that level of coherence: God I give my day to you. But mostly, it’s silence and I simply savour the moments of fogginess.
Movement 3: Nourishment
When the fogginess has somewhat lifted, I uncurl and emerge from under the covers.
Slipping into my moccasins and puttering over to the kitchen, I put some water on to boil. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh coffee and I sneak a whiff of it before pouring the grounds into my moka pot.
The house is still; the only sound being the stirring murmur of the water being heated.
I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated the liturgical calendar, although the idea of participating in age-old traditions has always intrigued me.
This year, however, after listening to a Tsh Oxenreider podcast on advent, I decided to do some research on how the church normally celebrated Advent and how I could personally participate in it.
The time of Advent consists of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
It is based on the idea that the Christmas season should not primarily consist of rushing around trying to get people their gifts or stressing about putting up decorations, but rather slowing down because we are waiting for a child.
Some Christians embrace fasting during this season as a way of recognizing our collective brokenness and increasing our longing for a Savior. Others light a candle once a week, gathering around it to read an Advent devotional and say a prayer asking Jesus to come into this world.
In my research on Advent traditions, I came across this video from the Bible Project on the word hope in the Bible:
One of the Hebrew words for hope is “Qavah”, which is related to the word for “cord”. The idea then is that hope is like a cord pulled tight: there needs to be some element of tension, longing, waiting for release.
I had written on the role of tension in the Christian life two weeks back, so this definition of hope struck a chord with me. This is Advent – a longing, yearning tension for the coming of a Savior, but more than that, the final restoration of the world.
Why did He wait 2000 years to send a Savior? Why doesn’t God just come now and rid the world of evil? Why isn’t God saving me from my situation now?
The questions we ask reveal the state of our impatient hearts: we hate waiting.
Yet, in rushing to the next thing, we pass over the beauty God has hidden for us in each season.
I love slow mornings, the rhythm of waking up and waiting in each movement until I’m ready to move on to the next one. It’s my personal philosophy that mornings should never be rushed.
In this time of Advent, I’m trying to embrace slow movement and make my advent mornings reflect Ecclesiastes 3:
there is a time for everything.
I’m lighting my fresh balsam candle and watching the flames do their flickering dance.
I’m hauling out my roommate’s heavy creuset and boiling celery, onions and bay leaves until they reduce to a rich vegetable stock.
I’m putting pen to paper and writing out Christmas cards, because I type too much.
The song “Seasons” by Hillsong has been especially speaking to me during this time of Advent. It speaks of a seed that has been buried in the ground, having to endure winter. And yet, the hope we can look forward to that one day, this seed will experience life again. Its season will come.
You could have saved us in a second, but instead you sent a child, the song goes.
And so we wait for our Savior, the same way our God waited to send his Son.
We wait for the hope of the world.
Yes, He is coming.