This morning I awoke to Advent. And I don’t like Advent. Well, if I am honest, I like all the worldly, Santa clause, sweet, cute, green and red, cheery, German, holly, jolly Advent stuff. But the important, deeply significant Advent talk, I kind of despise. It feels like all these puffed up religious people get their pipes out and their theological books the size of dictionaries and quote old preachers who had big things to say about why we should get all up in God’s face the 25 days before Christmas. It is this season that finds me counting down to Christmas by way of chocolates and little tokens for my kids and feeling so very “unspiritual” and guilty because so many of my people are using big words and concepts that go back to Church history that I am supposed to be interested in. But I am not. I am not interested in doing advent because people waited for God for hundreds of years and apparently, so should I, in the month of December. Sometimes, this Advent thing feels like a forced season of being extra “spiritual”. But for some reason this morning, it felt different.
The idea of Advent is that people awaited God. They waited and waited and waited. And God showed up. Jesus, the Immanuel, God with us, showed up on people’s scenes. As the book of John puts it: God became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. After all that waiting, this God with us ran right into the places and spaces people had been longing for Him to, for so very long.
This morning, as I was journaling, this is what the tip of my pen wrote: When I think about waiting Lord, I think about the things I long for that have taken up residence in me because they have been waiting in line for so very long. And it feels like they can just never seem to get to the front of the line.
And then I began to journal them. The things I wrote were longings I have had for years and years and years. You have them to. They are they things you have hoped for all your life. They are the people you pray for every time you muster up prayer. They are the places you beg for intervention in. They are the relationships that you so desire reconciliation for. They are your family and friends who need healing and hope. We all have these longings. They have waited in us for months, years, decades, lifetimes. Maybe, you too, could sit and write what you have waited for, for so very long. For me, as I did, these longings brought me to begging this God with us, to show up, to intervene, to break in, to bring good news. Perhaps this is what it means to enter Advent. To come to God with our longings. We don’t enter Advent as a religious must, but instead Advent can be a time to enter into what we long for and beg God to move into those neighborhoods of our lives and bring about the change only God can.
I told the Lord this morning, I wait for you to come here… and here… and here… I wait. And I wait. I wait so much. I understand waiting. My waiting does not determine Your presence. My waiting doesn’t tell me You are not real or You do not care. My waiting tells me “In good time.” “In Your time”, I say to God. In Your time. I am reminded that all things are brought about in time. God is in control and God knows what He is doing. That is what I have to tell myself while I stand in line. I could tell God be swift, but I know that God works out all things for good in His time. He knows what it takes and how to get there. What I would like to see happen quickly, God would like to see happen authentically. God knows change, transformation, redemption, they take process. And process takes time. The ticking of the clock. The turning of the calendar. The passing of the years. Shaping. Molding. Moving. Making. Process.
So I write, I will wait for you God. I’ll wait for you. Come to me in line. You will come. That is who you are. You are God with us. I long for you Immanuel in a very long line.
As you wait in what feels like a very long line, may you long with Him in that line. Write to Him, pray to Him, beg of Him, what is it you wait for?
He waits with you, while working.
He is God with us.