It may be that one of our largest challenges around the joy of the Advent season are “rehearsals.” Here I am not speaking of rehearsals around plays or concerts, but of mental rehearsals of old, tired stories of hurt that we rehash endlessly.
One author phrased it this way….
The mental habits [rehearsals] of polarization, the assumption that the other side is always acting with hidden motives or in bad faith, mean that accusations of hypocrisy or simple evil are more commonplace than direct engagement.
Such mental habits create destructive loops of biased judgement and then dis-engagement. We become more entangled with our own stories about others rather than with the actual face-to-face engagement with them. We engage with our myth. Not with them.
Advent offers an opportunity for something new. That newness may not always begin in writing a new story per say. It could however begin with simply dropping the old. Putting it aside. Catching ourselves when we slip into a tired rehearsal of old hurts.
A good guess is that if we drop the old story, a new story will be born this Christmas season!
God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)