Why should Advent ever come as a surprise?
Of all the church seasons of faith, I love Advent the most. I'm one of Those People who will absolutely not decorate a tree before Christmas Eve, play Christmas carols before Christmas, nor will I allow Magi to appear at the manger before Epiphany. Shopping? Fie! I want to be present to Advent, thankyouverymuch.
I love Advent's invitation to practice watchful waiting; to be quiet. I love Advent's invitation to embrace the mystery; to not know everything immediately. Generally speaking, knowing everything immediately is still too much of a time lag for me. And while I do not love contemplating what living as an unequivocal "yes" might look like, I appreciate the invitation to do so; mostly.
Love all this, look forward to all this, and am still surprised when this season arrives. Why? Probably because I'm stunned to remember all that I'm invited to do, no matter whether the Advent wreath's candles are violet or blue.