We enter the season of Advent, the season of waiting. The world enters too, into that physical manifestation of waiting. Cold has settled into our nights and days, and though the sun is still shining most afternoons, life has taken it’s leave–has fallen asleep and sinks deep into its earthen roots. We see this reality with our eyes where green has gone grey, and we feel it, don’t we? We shiver. Our bones begin to ache. We find ourselves saying, “Come Spring!”
For me, I’ve come again into a season of reckoning. Without unnecessary detail, our family has been in a long season of “winter”. It’s time for me to remember again something God revealed to us last year–that He doesn’t always rescue us from the current circumstance, but that He does brings His light into it. He abides with us in the midst of difficult times.
Isn’t that exactly the story of Christmas? The world wanted a Savior to arrive and valiantly rescue them all from life’s winter so to speak–to abolish the oppression of Rome, to set Israel and God’s people in their rightful place in the world, and to reign as King. They ached! Their souls were reaching out and upward with the words, “O Come Immanuel!”
Immanuel did come! But instead of what they may have imagined, God entered the story as a helpless baby. It would be decades before He even began His ministry…and even then, He began a long work of hope–of waiting. He brought the salvation of our souls, but did not fix all the current sufferings of the world.
He lit up the darkness. He abided with us here on earth. He abides with us still. But He has not yet fixed it all. We still ache for that final day when everything is made right. Christmas is not the day when suddenly everything in our lives and world are fixed. But it IS the day where we are reminded in a great celebration of light, that hope has come. Hope is here with us–in the midst of our brokenness as it comes in many forms, He dwells in it with us.
I found myself in a moment last weekend at the end of my rope–totally sleep deprived with our one year old, the whole family sick, feeling the weight and intensity of motherhood, grieving significant family tragedies, the list seemed to pile onto my body and soul. Advent was arriving and I felt so far away from this Savior who is to be celebrated…
In a precious moment to myself I was listening to some music and praying–calling out of my ache and chaos, “O Come Immanuel! But I realized something as I was praying. I realized I was (and have been) calling on Him the way that Israel had. I had been wanting Him to rescue me again. To fix my struggles. How often I forget and have to realign my heart and thoughts. My heart broke as I realized this, and my prayer began to change in that moment, “Jesus, show me where you are meeting me here. Open my eyes to see how you are lighting my way. Show me where you have arrived–where you are working the hope of salvation right here and now!”
The song I was listening to by Kari Jobe, talks about Jesus’ suffering and she says, “Gethsemane, where Heaven met me” , and, “Calvary, where Heaven met me” …speaking about how God and heaven came down to meet Jesus there in His suffering. The glory was in that moment. The moment of hope in the midst of the darkest hour. The TRUTH of hope in the darkest moment. Even for Christ. He exemplified this amazing mystery. The manifestation of where faith meets God’s faithfulness. The life comes through and after the death, not instead of or before it.
The waiting and the salvation. They are inseparably hand in hand.
So let us embrace the waiting of Advent. Let us not rush its duration. Let us grow in our ache for Christmas. For Christmas is the beginning of this story for us. Death does come. Winter does come. But Oh, the wonder of our Savior’s arrival–the power of His forever presence. Oh the light that has pierced the darkness of winter. Let us look for the ways He is coming to meet us this year, this day, this moment.
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