Advent: Discipleship in Darkness
The dreadful darkness. The dismal darkness. The dreary darkness.The very, very, dark darkness.
Four feeble candles on a wreath is all I have to hold back the bleak and blustery night.
Our tiny, trifling sphere tilts away from our source of light.
Solstice of the soul.
I wait. I lament.
Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus — this frenzied, bloated world makes merry to delude itself about the darkness.
But not me.
I slide into the darkness like a hangnailed finger slides into an overladen nostril.
Somber. Still. Sealed from the fury.
I bleat mournful and minor ballads. No one will make me sing carols.
I will not hurry.
Advent is like being stuck behind a garbage truck when you’re running late.
I will face the abyss. I seek the courage to probe my vacuous soul.
An empty manger. A no-vacancy inn. My hollowfied heart.
The cold and merciless universe, this threadbare and weary world, my odoriferous and loathsome flesh are a COVID-infested Red Roof Inn between the Dollar Store and Waffle House that our vestal Saviour makes home.
Lodgifizing, Embodification, En-residentialmente, Abidingmonque, Chiliconcarne.
Still, I persist.
I dream of a day when the world will be dignified and tasteful.
I try hard not to savor this desolate time, to take no pride in my sanctimony.
Deep discipleship only for those as introspective, authentic, distinguished, and penitent as I.
Suggestions for a Meaningful Advent
- Learn to chant the Book of Lamentations in Aramaic, according to the tunes of St. Pachadyrmius of the Abbey of Tasmanzonia.
- Assess your wardrobe to determine if you could put leather patches on the elbows of any more of your habiliment.
- Memorize all the synonyms for gloom found in Roget’s Thesaurus.
- Deign to serve on your congregation’s Worship Committee in order to develop new names or themes for each Sunday of Advent. For example, Week One –Wrath; Week Two — Pestilence; Week Three — Judgment; Week Four — Hell.
- Let your prescription for antidepressants lapse.
- Walk a 666 mile pilgrimage, preferably bare-foot, to major retailers, malls, big-box stores, and especially Amazon Distribution Centers, then scream imprecatory psalms at the entrance.
- Spin yarn from a mix of Marian donkey bristles and the whiskers from the now nearly-extinct Achaemenid camel, then make pajamas from it for your entire family.
- Have your home church sponsor a support group for Hallmark Christmas movie addicts, practicing COVID-appropriate protocols, of course.
- Each week of Advent work on developing a taste for an elite and underappreciated delicacy. Possibilities include fruit cake, mincemeat pie, marzipan, oysters, and cognac.
- Use the word “prophetic” at least twelve times per day. If you already do this, instead substitute the words “existential” or “angst.”
- Craft artisanal Advent candles of tallow derived from desiccated Galiean locust thoraxes (commonly known as “Baptist Hoppers”)
- Read poetry composed only by tormented souls.
- Calligraph individualized Christmas greetings to your closest 1440 friends on locally-sourced, humanely-raised parchment using ink extracted from organic Christmas cactus blossoms.
- Attempt to build up and store emotional stockpiles of righteous indignation. Finding appropriate targets should not prove difficult.
Disclaimer: In case it isn’t obvious, this is a sophomoric, tongue-in-cheek attempt to lampoon our Advent pomposity. To any I have offended and/or exposed, I apologize. I hope whatever pain I caused is mitigated by a few small chuckles.