Advent is intended to be "a time between times." Like bleak waiting after dark crucifixion--until the "He is risens!" of bright Easter morning. We are to identify with darkness, hopefulness-tainted-by-fear that our hope is baseless--hopeless; fear that darkness is all-in-all.
Advent is a hallelujah-less time. A reminder time. A reminder that until this season is over, darkness indeed wins, and light lessens with each day. We lose our grip on victory-confidence.
Advent is an adopted , intentional season of despair.
-We confess our doubts--even in our pleading prayers to the Mighty One, who appears anything but mighty.
-We consider, and even participate in the hopelessness of those without Christ's light.
-We wonder if our fears, in this season of darkness, will finally vanquish all hope. We fear perhaps this year the sun will continue to diminish its light-giving until finally...all is dark; forever.
During this season we recognize our desperate solidarity with those who waited 400 years for God to act, and then perished before their eyes could see Hope's coming.
We come to this place with secrets. Doubts, questions, even treasons may lurk in our hearts. Perhaps righteous living seems to have left us empty--unfulfilled. Maybe there is nagging doubt that darkness--sin--would provide satisfaction to our hungry souls?
Advent pulls down the pretentiuosness we hold to. This is a time to admit serpants we'd prefer to dance past, and deny. Now we must pause, identify and own our doubts and fears.
This is Advent, a time between times normal, and festive...or so we hope.