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?
One year at a time, one conflict at a time, one fa-la-la-la-la-la-la at a time. Eventually, anticipation gives way to dread. Excitement gives way to anxiety. Revelry gives way to humbuggery. I still don’t resonate with the tinsel and trappings and the mess we’ve made of Christmas, but I’ve begun to experience the beauty of Advent: the hope, the peace, the waiting, the longing. Advent is an invitation to celebrate the hope of the Incarnation even as we strive and struggle and wait for the world to be set right.
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