One of the tortures of being depressed is that it feels like we’re always waiting. Waiting to feel better, waiting to feel worse, waiting for time to elapse so we can go to bed, waiting for anything to happen that changes things even a little.
It begins to feel like waiting is all we have and it’s not enough. Depression steals our agency. How can we ever change anything if we can’t even get it together to put on our shoes? And we watch the normals doing all kinds of things we’d be able to do if only we could, and feel even worse about not being able to move.
But here we are on the first day of Advent, and the entire purpose of Advent is waiting. We spend these four weeks waiting for Christmas to come, for Jesus to be born. It’s not a time of self-improvement to make ourselves worthy of Jesus. It’s not a challenge and if we do well enough Jesus comes and we get to open our presents. There’s nothing actionable about it. And that’s difficult. It’s especially difficult for a people who are used to feeling guilty about waiting and who long constantly to be different than we are.
But here’s the thing: Jesus, by his very existence, tells us that we’re enough exactly as we are. And that’s why we celebrate his birth (at the wrong time of year) so vigorously. His birth certainly isn’t the most important part of this story–his death and resurrection are–but it is the first sign that God is watching us and loves us and sends this person to bring justice to the whole world, even as flawed and compromised as we are.
Especially as flawed and compromised and depressed as we are.
It’s jarring and it’s hard to believe, that we could be actually enough. So we get this four-week period of Advent to do nothing but wait and get used to being worth it. And then Jesus is born to take away the pain of the world.
You are enough, even in pain and depressed.
You are enough, even when you don’t earn it.
You are enough, even while you’re waiting.
This is Advent again.
(You might also enjoy the Advent devotional #fuckthisshit. Day 1 is here.)