What does Christmas taste like?
My first memories of Christmas taste were two-stroke snowmobile smoke straight to the mouth. There’s nothing like that super cold air mixed with super-fast exhaust. Yeeew buddy!!
We would thumb that throttle right up behind our house to the woods and get reeeeeeeeeally stuck. If my friend’s dad had to rescue us, the punishment was a rooster tail to the face. Let me tell you, the power coming off that paddle-track knocked us right over. So, Christmas tastes like snow too. We couldn’t smell because our nostrils were packed with snow and snot.
Even though we suffered a lot as little 8 year-olds out in the cold, digging out sleds, we kept going out there. Something drove us. Our experience was a mixture of loss (of circulation/expectations/hydration), excitement, hope, doubt, fear, and elation. We had some sort of lack in us that drove us to abandoning the warm, cozy indoors for the punishing Christmas Wonderland.
The lack was not some “God-shaped hole” in our hearts that only Jesus could fill. It seems to me now that the gaping hole is God in our heart(s). Advent is the Divine taking on that Lack at the core of existence. Jesus doesn’t abandon the privilege and coziness of heaven to walk around in a Maui “you’re welcome” way, keeping suffering and struggle at an arm’s length (see Moana for reference). “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). He especially experiences Lack on the cross. When he experiences God forsaking God (Psalm 22 and Matthew 27:46). This doubt is not the opposite of faith, but made divine through the cross.
Maybe if we were certain that everything would be fine when we went snowmobiling, there would be no reason to go. In the adventure of doubt, we came to have knowledge OF the Absolute, but never absolute knowledge. Through Jesus that Lack is now Divine.
That’s what Advent tastes like.
Stefan Seeling, student ministries director