I am presently recovering from a shoulder injury. The first few weeks have been a very slow intensive process of stretching exercises to get back mobility. Today the therapist started me on exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the tendons I injured. The therapist cautioned me to take this new regimen very slowly and build up to a goal of a certain number of reps three times every other day, but that was by no means the starting place. My shoulder muscles are too weak to take that much stress all at once. The goal is to get stronger over a long period. She gave me the metaphor of my recovery being a marathon instead of a sprint.
Advent could be looked at in those same terms: We need to ease ourselves into the preparations for the season. We need to start slowly and work our way up to a deeper and deeper reflection on the season. We have four long weeks to get to Christmas and we should take advantage of all of that time and not rush ahead to the celebration before we are prepared for it. Savor the anticipation and hope of the early weeks; let it seep into your being. Let that hope help your faith grow strong enough to bear the overwhelming joy yet to come.