Every grocery and department store knows exactly how much they have on display, in the back or awaiting arrival. “A dollar is a dollar” and that hula hoop just doesn’t seem to be selling any longer.
Advent is about collecting your inventory and Lent is about evaluating your inventory. Preparing for Christmas is the same as preparing for the cold winter months. (No wonder Advent is now.) Advent’s virtues of peace, contentment, hope and promise warm our souls anticipating again the birth of Christ. Layers of clothes, a good sweater and jacket gets us from our cars to the grocery store. We could call ourselves “collectors” during these four weeks. Isaiah is full of good thoughts these days, thoughts of something good and positive laying ahead of us – just an arm’s reach away if we but stretch out our arm a little. Advent fills and Lent empties.
Lent rolls around and it’s time to look at our loaded shelves that haven’t moved since December. (We wonder during Lent why we bought that stupid stuff in the first place.) Preparing for the resurrection, we empty ourselves only to be filled with Christ’s peace, contentment, hope and promise…stuff we bought last December. Advent creates and Lent refines.
Persistent, nagging thoughts are useless we tell ourselves during Advent so we fill our life’s shelves with a promise that good thoughts and actions take over. “Top shelve” is reserved for kind acts and words toward others. “Middle shelve” is a job well done in our professional lives. “Bottom shelve” is our personal life that will always baffle but never deter us. That’s Advent. Advent plants the seeds and Lent reaps the harvest.
Take these weeks to build up your inventory and place them prominently on its rightful shelve and don’t worry whether they’re sell or not, you will always have the Lenten season to take care of that.