Welcome to week 2 of Advent, the season of waiting. In this series of posts, I’m going to explore a little bit about this curious little season of the year just before one of the best times of the year (Christmas).
The crazy thing about Advent is that it is separate from Christmas in that it is a celebration of waiting for Christ (Christmas is the celebration of Christ coming). So as much as we need to slow down at Christmas time, in Advent we actually slow ourselves…in order to wait for Christ. Go figure.
There are lots of reasons for this, but one of the most important is that we want to put ourselves in the place of the waiting world that Christ was born into. We bring ourselves once again into the place where we acknowledge our need for the Savior to invade our darkness. Just like the people of Israel had become numb, distant, hopeless, and uninterested, so we can drift in our dependence on God. We need a Savior to come, we need him to invade our lives in fresh ways. Those moments when God shines a piercing light through the blackness of the night are what we are waiting for.
It’s easy to skip over the context of the event that shook the world in that little town of Bethlehem and get right to the story. But those blank pages in between the testaments represent a long period of waiting for God to speak, to act, to do anything really, that would prove he was still there. The long-awaited Messiah was supposed to come, supposed to unite the people of God and restore Israel’s former glory. But there was silence. There was nothing but waiting for over four hundred years. That was darkness.
But into the darkness a Light came, but it wasn’t the light that many expected. Israel expected a king, a ruler, a warrior who would break the bonds of the evil oppression of Rome and set up Israel as a political superpower. But the King they got was a baby, born in a stable, who lived a life of relative obscurity until his final days of ministry. Even then he was rejected by many as a lunatic.
Isn’t that true of us as well? We wait and expect God to deliver us in some grandiose way, to break through and BOOM! all of our problems are gone. But instead he comes in the quiet, in the little things, in the mess and disarray of crying babies and carpentry.
So in this Advent season, I encourage you to look for Christ to come once again into your darkness, and maybe in unexpected ways. Waiting in line at the store – is it a gift? What about traffic? What about the simple beauty of the Christmas songs you’ve heard a million times? We can find him in our waiting.
But…How do you expect the unexpected? I’m not sure, but I think it starts by opening ourselves to God in the little things, and by not hurrying ourselves away from waiting. Don’t drive so hard to the destination that you miss the journey. The journey is filled with all kinds of beauty and blessing. It’s like I read recently, waiting isn’t wasted if we wait with Faith. Look for him, and find him in the waiting.