It’s so ironic that in one of my recent blog posts
, I made a comment about not lacking for things to write about. I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing now is writer’s block or not, but I have not been wrestling with thoughts and feelings and naming them like I was during the summer and early fall. It could be that I’ve moved out of that period of angst. Praise God! Or, it could be that it’s just much more difficult for me to stop and reflect and simply be during this busy time of year. Oh how I long for my quiet evenings on the patio where I looked to the clouds and reflected and dreamed and captured those thoughts here! During this time of the year, my precious summer patio
resembles more of a neglected, abandoned wasteland than a tranquil, verdant escape.
This Christmas season, I’m reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s daily devotional, God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. Advent is a season of waiting. It’s expectation and anticipation. On the Christian calendar, Advent is the season in which we await the birth of Jesus. I’ve never thought of the word ‘Advent’ in any other context before now. For me, the miracle of Christ’s birth represents all that I believe. But, Bonhoeffer states that our entire lives are, in a sense, a season of Advent. We always exist in a state of waiting. After waiting for a lifetime, we find heaven and glory and eternal life and unending joy and peace.
But, the Advent that preludes Christmas, is a time of waiting in which I know what gift is at the end of the journey. The waiting is finite and known. On December 25th, we celebrate Christ’s birth. This kind of waiting is easy. It’s expected. It’s almost whimsical. I count down to the day on an Advent calendar. There aren’t any unknowns. But, what about those things I wait for where there isn’t a timeline? This type of waiting is really hard for me.
My times are in your hands. ~ Psalm 31:15
I am in a period of waiting right now, but I’m not sure what I’m even waiting for. It’s not quite a displeasure or discontent. It’s not all-consuming and it’s not unpleasant. The wind is blowing. It’s a stirring. It’s the product of reflecting on my Christian walk and where God wants to take me next. It’s knowing that where I am is not where He wants me to stay. It’s knowing there will be discomfort and hardships, yet confidence that joy awaits at the culmination of this journey. God has hidden the time table from me and I sometimes focus on figuring that out and miss the here and now. The hectic pace of this Christmas season makes it difficult for me to live into this waiting. It’s so easy to be distracted by the noise and bustle and lists. Even settling myself this week to reflect on my life has been challenging. It’s like all of my senses are heightened during this time of year. My life feels so much more frantic.
I believe God truly wants us to live into the moments of waiting. Waiting is a season all it’s own and there is much to be gained from the reflection and doubt and discernment and prayer. Sometimes, God has me wait because there is a better opportunity down the road that He’s not ready to share with me yet. Sometimes I wait so that I truly appreciate where I am. I wait so I have time to see if something is really in His will. The waiting, the unknown, it’s exciting. It’s like a wrapped present under the tree. It’s the anticipation and expectancy of what that gift might contain. But, it can also be extremely frustrating. The not knowing and expectation and guessing what could be next can be exhausting. Sometimes I just want to know what God’s plan is and be able to count down the days.
And, so I wait. I wait with joyful expectation that each day holds an Advent all it’s own. It’s in the waiting that we call out to God, that we question, that we wonder and dream. God is in the waiting, He is present with us. He brings us through all of the Advent stages of our lives into glorious new beginnings. For now, during this season of Advent, I will worship in the waiting. . . .