It’s just two days to Christmas. The tree is up, the Nativity scenes and decorations are out, and the shopping is (mostly) finished.
Now, we wait.
In an ancient and wonderful Christian tradition, this is the season of “Advent”: a planned four weeks of waiting for the birth of Christ. The passage of time is marked in various ways, most often by daily Advent calendars or by weekly candles in an Advent wreath. As the weeks proceed, the light recedes and the days grow shorter and shorter.
Then, during the darkest week, the light emerges: the Christ child is born.
Whatever your religious tradition, the themes are familiar. The story is one of hope, redemption, and peace. All wrapped up in the image of a little baby, born into humble circumstances.
Our modern world is full of instant stimuli, where everything is presented “your way, right away,” and folks cannot disconnect from devices and technology. Advent provides an antidote to the vagaries of modern life—a small way to reclaim some of our peace and be reminded of our shared humanity. For me, this is a time of year to find a quiet corner and a warm cup of coffee and read, write, or just think.
We live in the greatest country ever conceived of by humankind. While there are many problems in our state, life is better here than in most of the world. And even in Illinois, the decades of corruption and decay have been laid bare for the people. The seeds of reform and renewal are slowly germinating, despite the fits and starts. (The General Assembly even came together to release funds so that local governments will have enough road salt on hand for the snowy and icy weather to come.) Next year will bring great political fights, from a wide-open presidential contest to numerous state and local elections, along with continued struggle in the Illinois legislature.
But for now, we wait.
As we proceed through this holiday time, please know of my deepest wishes for health, happiness, and blessing for you and yours. I’m thankful and honored to represent you.