Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Treasure of Advent

I first posted this two years ago, but have been thinking about it all weekend. It's so easy to rush Christmas. But that first Christmas waited until the fullness of time...



Advent is one time of year (and Lent is the other) when I really appreciate the sense of reflective anticipation that was instilled in me through my liturgical heritage. In the traditions of my present church, we tend to forget that a season of waiting is a season of preparation. We are so eager to jump to the happy ending that we tend not to have the patience for the tension of the chapters of climax.

Or in this case, the silence between the chapters. More than four hundred years between the old and new testaments of scripture. How's that for a pregnant pause?

The scripture photographed above is the beginning of Handel's Messiah (rendered in calligraphy by Timothy Botts--breathtaking book!!). The text of Messiah does the most amazing job I've ever seen of capturing scriptures that illustrate the need and waiting for a Savior, and the fulfillment of the promise. It is packed with paradox, and has made me love the prophets. It has caused me to realize that all of history--in fact, all of eternity--rests on a BUT. Listen...

"For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people, BUT the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (From Isaiah 60:2-3)

The writer of the book of Hebrews puts this spin on the BUT: "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,..." (and then He was quiet--though not absent--for centuries!) "...BUT in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." (Hebrews 1:1-3a)

His WORD. After 400 years of silence. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. ...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-5, 14)

Whew! Gives me goosebumps. Ponder that while you're waiting for your cookies to bake. :-)

5 comments:

Joy said...

This is so good Tracy. Gives me goosebumps too. Growing up I did not hear much of Lent and Advent, but at our current church I'm learning so much about them. The anticipation. How wonderful!
That Isaiah scripture ties right in. Beautiful.
Thanks for writing this.
♥ Joy

Julie said...

thanks for sharing!

StitchinByTheLake said...

The sermon this morning at my church was about the hope we have while we're waiting. People get ready, Jesus is coming! blessings, marlene

Melissa B. said...

What a poignant post! It's always good to get a wake-up call like this as the Christmas season approaches. The older I get, the less tolerant I am of the commercial side of the season...

Betty said...

Thanks for the encouragement to slow down and ponder the blessings of our Lord!