Advent is like the wallflower at a techno-dance party. It is the tea in a world of coffee drinkers. It is the silent prayer uttered in a Pentecostal-style worship service. It is the grief of a person in the midst of a Christmas party. Advent is the silent night between the wrapped Christmas trees glaring light. It takes paying attention. And it takes extraordinary religious discipline to carve out this space.
Years ago a psychologist named Viktor Frankl stood up to Sigmund Freud. Freud was teaching what man wanted most in life was pleasure. But Frankl believed man wasn’t seeking pleasure as much as he was seeking a deep sense of meaning. In fact, he went on to say “When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.”
The Advent season is a time of remembering the miracle of birth, how Jesus entering the world became the greatest plot twist ever written. It’s a time of turkey, family, sugar plum ferries, ornaments, Christmas trees, and Charlie Brown. What do we do when we find it difficult or nearly impossible to be thankful during the season of gratitude?