Looking back I see how important seasons have been to my life. Not only seasons of the natural world, or the coming and goings of each semester, but those evident in the liturgical calendar. Reflecting on the years it’s perfectly clear. I came to the University of Minnesota in the season of Epiphany. A season of growth and change and discovery where a wide eyed freshman me was exposed to everything new. It was exciting and scary and filled with growth. As I got a little older I moved into Lent, perhaps staying there too long, yet learning all the while. Testing myself and wallowing in the questions of life. Trying to figure out what this whole living thing was all about. Thankfully Lent too past, leading me through Easter and into Pentecost, when, thanks to a LCM spring break trip to Mexico I found my passion and fire for social justice. A passion that has tugged at my conscious ever since. It has driven my study and direction within the design field, forcing me to question, but also learn. And now, nearing the last semester of my college career, I arrive at advent.
Advent “is the season for mystics, for those who search the stars and the sky for signs of hope and promise in the deep blue winter… Nestled into the cold dark night, under the drape of the deep blue sky, in what ways have you been lulled to sleep? What shooting stars and signs in the heavens might you wake up to see? Or are you tired with watching and waiting for the coming of God? Are you frightened or discouraged by the silence of the cold winter darkness? As we put on the deep blue robe of Advent and light the candles to watch in the night, what might God be waking you to see? What might you miss if you do not watch and wait?” *
This time of advent is a season for hope, for anticipation, culminating in the birth of Christ and a new beginning for us all. It is a time of light that gathers within the darkness of winter to bring about new life. Hope, peace, joy, and love abound in this beloved time of year. So here I am, a senior, trying to find my way in the darkness of planning for a post graduation future, gathering little pieces of light in this time of advent. Light that comes in the form of friends, family, and mentors, to guide me on my path to living out my vocation. Once again it is a time in life for a new start, whether it is a new place, new faces, a new job, or a new sense of self, it is a time to start afresh. And let me tell you, it’s scary.
In the hope for the coming of Christ we often forget about the doubt that can plague the season. The doubt reflected in the darkness of December that surrounds us. Doubt seeps in when trying to answer the nagging questions about the future. “What will you do when you graduate?” “Where will you be?” “Who will you be?” Yet amongst this doubt there is hope, a hope for the birth of Christ and answers to life’s questions. Right now this doubt is a more than a little overwhelming. Quite frankly it’s terrifying. Yet I know, wherever I end up, whatever I am doing, whomever I meet, I will be blessed with a fresh start, a gift in this time of advent. I will wait and watch the heavens for the shooting stars of the deep blue winter sky. I will be blessed with a new beginning and a path with another new direction to guide me onto life’s next great season.
*Excerpt from Holden Village Devotional