It’s December 3rd and the season of waiting has begun.
I’m not waiting for Christmas to arrive or Santa in his sleigh with 8 reindeer and a red nose leading the way. I’m not waiting for presents under the tree …3 French hens, 2 turtle doves or even a partridge in a pear tree.
Truth be told, I’m not excited much at all about Christmas this year but I’m very excited about what’s coming–or should I say “who’s coming”… in January. Our kids and grands are planning to come from the east, west and north and should be arriving to the land of cotton in the south to a place that I now call, home. I can hardly wait!
You see, not long ago– my husband, Roger, and I began a season very unfamiliar to both of us. For the first time in many years, we found ourselves in a quiet house with just the two of us. A full table at family meal time and a home with kids and grands running all around became a table for two.
We love to see each other as often as we can but realistically, with tighter finances and work schedules, it’s a good year when we can get together twice in the same year. And when I say “we see each other” — that might mean Roger and I visiting with one or two of our kids at a time. Rarely have we all gotten together at the same time in the same location.
For me, our 4 adult children, the 3 spouses, 7 grandkids and a Nana and a Papa make for the hap-happiest season of all.
I’m waiting. Anticipating the coming. Planning for the get-together and praying for a house big enough to hold all 16 of us so we can enjoy a relaxing time together like none other we’ve been able to experience in years.
I grew up in a home where love was always in plentiful supply but not so much the whole gift giving at Christmas. When I married, it was a similar story. Christmas is about family and being with those you love and enjoy being with. Eating mounds of good food. Playing board games –for many, that is. Singing silly songs and worshiping together. Guitars, drums, cello, piano and home-made instruments created from items found in the kitchen drawer. The lights. The smells. The laughter. The chaos. Imperfect joy, as my daughter, Carrye, calls it. Family.
But today is the first Sunday of the Advent season and I find myself in another kind of waiting. Waiting for the coming. The arrival. A quiet excitement. A longing for the light to break through.
God knew we would need a season to remind us of His birth and renew our longing for His coming again to make everything right.
Everything is surely not right with the world as we know it. It seems no place is exempt. Depression, anxiety, disease, loss, violence, addictions, hopelessness make their appearance in the wealthy neighborhoods as well as the neighborhoods where the poor make their home.
Cancer is not a respecter of persons. All are suspect. Hunger has ravaged the stomach as well as the soul of mankind. We’re smarter than ever and yet lacking the sense needed to get out of the mess we’re in.
But the season of Advent is here and with it we take another deep breath. Hope.
In a book of Christmas meditations, When the Time Was Fulfilled, Alfred Delp speaks of Advent as “the time of promise” but “not yet the time of fulfillment.”
We wait for the promise to be fulfilled and we wait in expectation with ready hearts …hands and feet actively participating in God’s redemptive story. But waiting is hard. It’s hard to see the redemption in all the evil that’s going on in our world.
We talk about Advent as the arrival yet redemption seems slow in coming. We long for God to fix things and redeem what seems to have gotten lost in the hustle and bustle and chaos of life.
Where do we get those eyes to see and that heart that longs for His coming? How do we become like the widow in the Bible who stopped everything in life and went on an all-out-obsessive search for that one lost coin. One. Lost. Coin!
How do we remind ourselves that Jesus and the Kingdom of God is that true pearl of great price and worth selling all to find the True Treasure!
How do we become like Simeon and Anna who watched and waited expectantly …longing to see the Messiah arrive! How do we keep our eyes focused on what is unseen when what is seen is blasting before our eyes in technicolor on prominently displayed flat screens every single day?
Eyes fixed on Jesus. Hearts surrendered to His will. Hands willing and ready to serve. Loving deeply. Forgiving quickly. Watching for His coming. Alert to the Holy Spirit’s voice and His activity. Anticipating God’s redeeming power in every story. Noticing His glory all around. Praying always. Uncluttered. Awake!
“To eyes that do see, it seems as though the final dice are being cast down here in the valley of death: on the battlefields, in the cities of violence and poverty, in the souls of millions who live lives of desperation. Those who are awake, however, sense the working of other powers — eternal realities, which shine their light of the radiant fulfillment to come.”
Will you wait and watch with me? Join me in this season of Advent. Share your journey and what you see along the way!
Here’s one book I’m reading right now during the Advent season if you want to read along with me. You can order a copy HERE. I hope to share more resources along the way. Waiting …Watching …Longing!