They should have fallen long ago, but this year dried autumn leaves have clung to branches well beyond when they should have let go. Recently, they let go in a shower that was reminiscent of a blizzard. As I watched the beauty of fluttering fall colors floating on the soft breeze, I felt the angst of realizing I had just cleared the driveways and yard only to face the task again. It became increasingly difficult for me to enjoy the beauty of the leaf blizzard. I labored to return my focus on the beauty around me and to enjoy the unexpected display.

Advent seems to have moments when the hard work of past days are buried in the flurry of activity for the coming Christmas event. The pageant scenes seem so beautiful in Christmas plays as Mary and Joseph wind their way to Bethlehem. Yet, that journey seems more complicated and challenging than it should. What about the pain, the nervous soon-to-be parents about the timing of all of this and the total obliviousness of the world around them to their intense drama? Advent can be a beautiful blizzard of adventure and expectation or a desperate desire for holy intervention. But always, Advent holds promise and expectation.