Advent. Advent has rocked my world this year. I know, I know, 4 candles, 4 weeks, preparing for Jesus: we do the same thing every year so, uhhhh, what's different? This year, more than any other, I feel the longing, the deep desire, the desperation, the gripping wanting for the light. Advent ushers it in. I am all about Advent.
Advent is waiting. Advent is moving toward a target but not quite reaching it yet. Advent is reality. Advent is messy. Advent is... where I am. I read a quote this past week that I've been turning it over in my head, writing in my journal about it, and pondering it lately. Shauna Niequist writes:
"Thank God for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times its been lost."
I like to imagine Mary, on the donkey, hugely pregnant, thinking, "This, God? This is your plan? What a mess!" If it's as much about the journey as the destination, I think I'll pass. What kind of God makes the journey arduous? What kind of God makes the journey hurt? What kind of God makes the journey harsh and unwelcoming? I've wrestled with these questions hundreds of times this past year. I wish I had an answer to these ponderings....I do not. No ones does. And when I wonder, at my lowest, and when I say out loud: "God, you really messed this one up...."
"Advent," my heart whispers this season. Advent, Advent, Advent. You question, you wonder, you cry and fuss and hurt, but the destination will make it all make sense. So we walk, these four weeks; We walk with Mary and Joseph and the donkey, too...and we smile because this is the point. No use getting to the answer without a period of wondering, wandering, and waiting. What's waiting for us is worth the journey. It's always worth it. And it makes the final destination that much more sweet.
So maybe you're like me this season: craving the light, the THRILL of hope we sing about. Waiting with bated breath for the birth of Christ that really does change everything. To you I say, I walk that path too. And we're not where we're going yet, but we sure are closer than yesterday.