Liminality. It's a term that tends to get tossed around a lot this time of year. I guess I remember hearing/talking about it in the past, but this year it seems to be particularly striking. Maybe it's the election, we certainly stand on a threshold of some potentially huge changes in our political being. Maybe it's the economy. I don't think anyone has a clue where we stand in respect to that ... which in itself is somewhat liminal. I'm certain that one reason it has been more prevalent this year is just the weather, it's been cold and gray, basically winter but here we're still waiting on any kind of significant snowfall. We're past fall but haven't fully found winter yet. I'm also getting some "liminal feelings" about my studies. I'm really on the cusp of finishing things up at St. John's, one more semester and my coursework is done. I've been exploring what to do next and that's lead to some anxiety, some ambiguity, some limbo. As I sat in the choir at morning prayer Thursday it dawned on me that I only have a few more opportunities to do what has become a fairly regular routine for me (next semester I have an afternoon and an evening class). In any case, there seems to be a great deal of uncertainty these days.
Advent is certainly liminal. We look for light to provide us with hope from the darkness that surrounds us. Of course that light comes in the birth of Christ, a monumental light-filled event. As the season progresses and we reach a crescendo on Christmas, I wonder if we too often expect the same kind of light event in our lives. It's as if we expect God to send angels, shepherds, and wisemen to let us know where we're supposed to be. I'm fairly certain God is more subtle than that. Maybe that's what Jesus is saying in Mark when he tells us to be prepared. Be patient. Being prepared requires being in synchrony with our surroundings and our own being. It takes being quiet enough and open enough to let the Spirit reach us in ways that we might not even imagine. How often do we look externally for a sign or message? The news of Advent reminds us that there is a light within each of us, that rises in our hearts and provides that illumination. It takes courage and hope to stand on a threshold, willing to take the step that moves us from our current state of being to one of fully participating in the Kingdom, regardless of the time of year.