a little and a lot

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Advent!

I can't believe 2010 is almost over! I also can't believe there are a measly 25 posts in this year's archives--sorry bloggies. It's been a hard year, but a great year. That counts for something, even if it hasn't translated into blog posts...

I love Christmas. But I'll tell you what I love even more:
The entire season of Advent.

The moment we get on the interstate headed back to Memphis on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we play this from start to finish:
Andrew Peterson & friends lead us from story of Moses until the coming of Christ. After the album is finished, we listen to our other favorite Christmas songs until we're red & green in the face.

Advent means "arrival" or "coming," and there is just something about awaiting the arrival of another tiny person in your life during the same season that makes this truly come alive. This entire past year has been a season of advent for us in a way.

One important distinction: the arrival of baby Christ and the 2nd coming of our resurrected Christ is THE celebration/longing.

I do not long for our completed family in the way that I long for His completed Kingdom. (If I did, I would have an idol to deal with!) However, waiting for something...for a long time...for longer than you expected...with no timeline set before you...it is reminiscent of the way Israel waited for the Messiah...and of the way we wait for Jesus' return.

I pray daily that today will be "the day." The day our social worker calls us with THE news. The day we open that email and see that sweet picture. The day we bestow a name. The day the waiting is over and a new anticipation begins.

And yet, it wasn't today. It wasn't last week. Or last month. It might be tomorrow. It might not. This is a hard thing.

And if you are a Believer, I know you get that. Because in my life, I pray "Come, Lord Jesus." And yet, it wasn't today. It wasn't last week. Or last month. It might be tomorrow. It might not.

We do not lose hope. We know His arrival will happen. We just don't when. Hope means still praying, still asking, will it, can it be today?
"For many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are & where they want to go...[yet,] all the figures who appear on the first pages of Luke's Gospel are waiting...waiting with a sense of promise...Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are, and that you want to be present to it...The spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, trusting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination, fantasy, or prediction. That indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control."
- Henri Nouwen ("Watch for the Light")
I do not want to be preoccupied with control. I want to be actively present to this moment, trusting that new things will happen to me.

I treasure the Advent season for this reason: Emmanuel, who was promised, came to us. It was a surprise. Not everyone was present to the moment. But God was with us. And in the midst of more than one kind of waiting today, He still is.


Kristy said...

love your words. :)

Jane said...

Wow, that is powerful, and so very true. Thank you for sharing, once again, from your heart. It is a blessing to read what you write.

Becky said...

I appreciate these thoughts, and I especially like your quote. Merry Christmas!

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