The gift catalogs are here and Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. I saw a jewelry store commercial on the TV at the gym yesterday that advertised a free bonus XBox with the purchase of a diamond tennis bracelet. If we don't stay focused, we might forget what Christmas really is.
Christmas is waiting.
This week actually marks the beginning of Advent, and therefore the beginning of the time God's children wade deeper into what it means to wait for God to keep His promise of Love.
We are those who long for Him. We are shepherds on a hill, cowering in the light of heavenly glory. We are a small, powerless girl with a womb growing wide with God's plans, yearning for the moment of delivery. We are the prophets dwelling in the temple, looking at baby after baby, seeking the One that will take away our sin and shame.
There once was a baby who was delivered for our deliverance, and the depth of that can take years to fully sink in.
Advent teaches me the lesson I tell my kids way too often, that we don't get to choose if we wait, but we do get to choose how we wait. The angels give us hope, though, don't they? This is what they told the shepherds, words that chase away the fear that there may not be not enough joy this Christmas:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."
And, oh, how our longing for God deepens our belonging to God.
Advent is when we remember how far we were from God the Father before He sent His Son to save us. It is when we fill our hearts with the marvelous way He loves us. Advent reminds us to wait patiently for the appearance of the God to whom we belong.
Our family will be reading a beautiful family advent devotional this year to set out hearts above Christmas lists onto the one who has listed our names in the Book of Life.
We will pop open the windows of a Trader Joe's advent calendar every day, then enjoy the sweetness of a tiny chocolate in the midst of the waiting for Christmas morning. We will cherish the knowledge that our God is the One who comes.
This morning I sit with my advent devotional before me, a cup of coffee in my hand, and a stillness in my soul. After all these years, here I am waiting... again.
I am one who longs and waits for His advent all the days of my life. In desperate times, in dark seasons, in happy days of joy, and in days of peace: I want Him most of all. This will be the way my life will go for many, many more years. There is something deeply comforting about that.
Peace is knowing the end before it comes, even if I don't know when or how it will happen. Everything sad will be made right someday, because in the end the fight will be won by the God who promised to show us the way home.
I hope you find your heart full of waiting this Advent season, and that when Christmas morning dawns, you find He has come for you all over again.
Merry Christmas, you guys. I hope you enjoy the sweet depth of the season of waiting.