Little “a” and Big “A”

Devotional Archive

Day 5 - December 1, 2022

Little “a” and Big “A”

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:6-11

There is an advent I look forward to every year. It is definitely a little “a” advent, in contrast to the big “A” Advent we are in the midst of celebrating right now, but it is an advent, nonetheless.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines advent (little “a”) as the arrival of a notable person or thing. Notable is a rather subjective term, so allow me to introduce you to my notable friends, the snowbirds. These snowbirds are not the human type that I learned about when I moved to Florida several years ago, these snowbirds are the avian type and are specifically, dark-eyed juncos. These small, yet hearty birds spend their summers across Canada and Alaska, then as the winter winds start blowing, they make their way south and arrive in almost all the lower forty-eight states. They rarely go to Florida…could it be there are too many of the human type of snowbirds migrating for their liking? I am sure it must be the temperature and not the number of human snowbirds that keep them away.

These amazing little birds arrive in Kansas around the middle of October and stay until the middle of April. The advent of the snowbirds to the back patio of the Trigg home is a blissful occasion and one that is eagerly anticipated. When the calendar changes to October we look out the back door every morning with hope that “today will be the day.” Then, on that joyous day of advent, the one who spotted the first snowbird excitedly proclaims to the household, “The snowbirds have arrived!” We mark it on the calendar and watch every day as more and more of these birds appear until we have our own little flock.

Our little “a” advent of the snowbirds is of course nothing compared to the big “A” Advent of 2000 years ago or the big “A” Advent we are awaiting. Our little “a” advent is announced by the lucky human who spies the first snowbird not by angels breaking through the night sky to speak to startled shepherds. There is no star telling our neighbors to come and bring gifts to our newly arrived guests. Can you imagine the announcement of the Second Advent?

Our little “a” advent happens once a year and we only have to wait 6 months from the time the snowbirds depart until they arrive again. It is incomparable to the wait our ancestors experienced for the First Advent and for the Second Advent we expectantly await. Our little “a” advent gives me only the smallest taste of what the big “A” Advents are like. I get to experience eager anticipation, elated announcement, and abundant jubilation and for that I am grateful.

by Janice Trigg

Heavenly Father, thank you for all of the little “a” advents you allow us to experience as we celebrate the First Advent and wait with hope for the Second.

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