I love advent, and perhaps this year, like no other, I've been waiting for this season... of waiting. Because I want to be still, and listen, and take time to wonder. To wonder in the sense of being in awe, of tasting the mystery, of paying attention to the Divine.
This is not passive waiting... there is a purpose, an intent, to focus on the important, what really matters.
Recently I spent a day in retreat with a number of lovely women and our topic that day was Psalm 130.
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
What struck me in this beautiful Psalm is the waiting... waiting for God.
Five times, the waiting.
What are we waiting for? I see there is unfailing love. And redemption. Waiting for God. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Such wonderful gifts for a broken world.
There are days where I just long to fix it all... and in my work there is lots of waiting, many waiting rooms. And I see people wait differently... some are anxious, even pacing, or fidgeting, it is painful to watch. Others cast down, heads low. Others are watchful. Yet others are peaceful, even being productive in waiting... reading, knitting, working on quiet projects. Others taking the time to visit, taking interest in others around them, even making friends with strangers.
It is not easy, this waiting thing.
There have been periods in my life which have felt like months and even years of hard waiting... not knowing the outcome, praying, at times giving up, yearning, losing hope, then finding it again.
It seems it is part of this journey we call life, and it is often in the waiting, in the stops along our journey, that we learn the lessons, the rich lessons that I believe God has for us.
So Advent... to me, it is like a practical activity that reminds us to wait, to be expectant, to believe that there will be redemption, that there is hope, and always unfailing love.
Practically, I want to play it out in a number of ways this year...in my own personal drawings and writings, and in creating Advent play for some of my grandchildren.
This week I pulled out the old Advent Calendar I made for my children when they were little, and spent a good part of a day planning out how we would celebrate Advent together. Our calendar has pockets, so yes, there can be treats, but there is usually an activity, something to do in this waiting season. Making cards, creating nativity scenes, there are so many lovely things to do with children as we teach them the significance of Advent and waiting.
So blessings to you and yours... as we enter this holy season.