This year, I have been reading an excellent book called
"The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year"
by Kimberlee Conway Ireton.
It has been helping me think about the invitation
known as Advent.
Advent means "coming".
In the season before the coming, there is a waiting.
Just as the people of Israel waited over 400 years
for promise of a Savior to be fulfilled,
so we are waiting for his return, for all things to be set right.
But this is not a waiting synonymous with boredom, impatience or anxiousness.
It is a waiting synonymous with hope.
This Advent season, I am challenged to be present in the waiting. I love the fact that, though Thanksgiving is not a "church year" holiday, it kicks off the season with an eye to the past, reminding us of where God has been and is at work, reminding us to be thankful. Reminding us that while we turn our eye to what we do not yet see, we do it with confidence in the One whose goodness and faithfulness we have seen.
I am not a worrier by nature, which is usually a good thing. There is a pitfall, however. I am one to look at a situation over which I have no control, maybe pray about it, and then just "leave it with God". I am not one to wait with him, though. I am right there in the garden with the disciples who could not join Jesus for one hour in the agony of life or death prayer.
This Advent season, I'm accepting his invitation to name the empty mangers in my world, the places where I need to wait and watch and PRAY for him to come. Like a friend waiting for a transplant, a relative waiting for a job, a dear one who has given up on the whole concept of hope, a challenging situation that needs a wise, productive solution. Like those stricken by disease and waiting for a cure, people terror-stricken, bereft and displaced, waiting for an end to evil, and like bigotry that needs to be replaced with understanding and compassion. Like someone I know who needs the ever-growing fruit of maturity--and that someone is ME.
I'm taking my cues from Mary and Joseph and the wise men, and I'm watching for Jesus to show up.
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved, But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:22-25
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.