I used to disregard Advent as an unnecessary ritual, thinking that the true gift of this season was the birth of Christ (albeit being celebrated at the wrong time of year, according to historians); and the miracle IS that event. But as I’ve lived life, I’ve come to grasp the rooted hope that, even more powerfully, His presence is relevant and most profound in this in between time…in this holding of space….in the longing for what is, and will be, but isn’t yet.
Advent means “coming”, and in that waiting, in that holding of space, we acknowledge that there is something that we long for, a brokenness that cuts, a discouragement that withers the soul, and an ache that asks why.
It is a tension that pulls both ways, and we wonder how to reconcile the two…how to make peace without justice, how to find joy within the darkness; how to honor the Promise, while still seeing through blurred tears.
This season of Advent speaks clear to me. My prayer is one of crying out, one of seeking to be transparent in my sorrow, while still trusting the One who’s birth makes all things right…one of knowing when to stand guard, and when to stand down…one of knowing when to draw in and encircle, and when to draw a line in the sand….one of knowing when to speak the ache, and when to hold quiet in silence.
The more I know I need Him, the more I’ve come to look and watch for Him. The more He answers my thoughts, the more I’ve learned to ask the questions. The more I experience His revolutionary love, the more I feel secure in Him alone. The more I wrestle with this life, the more urgently I feel the need to seek His purpose and perspective, to simply seek Him.
No, for me the innocent joy of a childhood Christmas slips into the wintry nights all to quickly, replaced instead with a resounding conviction that these dark nights cling to the soul, weighing it down, mocking it with jeers. As bitterness and anger, discouragement and weariness, knock wildly at my door, I will cling to the One who’s humble introduction whispers quietly to my soul.
“I am the One you yearn for, I am the One who sees, I am the One you cling to most, and the longing will one day cease. But until then, rest in Me, knowing that I miss nothing, I am the God who never flees. And although the shadows spread out like a blanket of night, seeming to hide all of the candles’ flame, fear not you weary one, the battle is hard, but the war is already won.”