A Season of Waiting


The season of Advent is one of waiting… of preparation, of anticipation… and, if we are honest, often a season of weariness. This year, a theme that keeps hitting my ears has been ‘reality Christmas’.  This concept acknowledges the drain and strain that the endless activities of the holidays can produce.  Family gatherings, growing to-do lists and endless events can do more to grow loneliness & despair than the hope & peace written on every Christmas card we write.  It pushes against the magical ideal of a picture perfect Christmas and embraces the heartache and disappointment that real life often brings.

Many of us want to create & celebrate the wonder of the holidays for our families as well as ourselves.  We long to have the perfect moment, the rich traditions and deep meanings of this season be our reality.  However, it can be a challenge to come even close to the desire we have… Life get’s messy. So do we give up the hope? Do we become less wishful? Do we simply lower our expectations?  Or is there another way?

Advent is the four weeks or Sundays preceding Christmas. It is the beginning of the church calendar and a season of looking ahead to the year to come.  We remember the promises of the prophets, marvel with Mary, Journey with Joseph, wonder with the shepherds, and then rejoice with the angels when Christ is born. It’s a miraculous story but it is not short and sweet. It’s a slow, unfolding story that took generations to be fulfilled. It’s a baby that takes months to develop. It’s a journey that takes miles to travel. It’s a precious gift that comes to us from the far reaches of the earth. It’s a kingdom that takes generations to establish.

It is in this vein that we approach Christmas. It is slow and plodding.  Mundane and tedious, surprising and unfolding. It is both magical and very much real.  It is a mystery.

We should give ourselves grace for the full range of life and not feel we need to rush to make happen what will unfold.  We are waiting for what has been promised and has yet to come.

Eternity in this moment

  Life is fleeting.  Time flies.  Moments pass in the blink of an eye.   That’s what they say… and to a degree, it is true.  We do not get to pause our lives, relive our pasts or guarantee our futures. We only hold each moment we are presented with.  

That is the beauty. The mystery. As creatures of time we have been designed to hold this moment, right now, while we also hold our memories of the past & our hopes for the future in the very same hands.  Somehow, through this mystery of trifold time, we can grasp eternity. 

Does this call to something deep within you? A longing? A hope?

I believe this mystery is the grand story God has written in the stars, whispers in the wind, echoes through the mountains & calls to us in the face of a newborn babe.  A longing for wholeness.  A desire for our past, present & future to find a home. He created us with eternity in our hearts.

This Christmas season I have been struck with this concept anew. Meditating on John 1 I have been in awe of the God of eternity who has woven his love throughout history to invade time in a specific moment, place, person & point towards the hope of the future all at once.  In a dynamic convergence, one moment radically transforms all three strands of time at once. The God of Eternity, who created time itself, has become one with His creation. 

This is John’s statement about the birth of Jesus.  

“In the beginning the Word already existed.  He was with God and He was God.  He created everything there is.  Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in Him and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was going to come into the world. So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us.”  John 1:1-5, 9, 14 (NLT)

Can you see the mystery that has struck me so deeply? Through the stretch of eternity we can hear God’s words from Genesis 1 “Let there be light” echo from the beginning of time itsel through John’s account of Jesus coming & into the unknown of the future where the light can not ever be extinguished. What power, what mystery, what hope.

It is easy to feel like our past is a mess. We often look ahead with fear or uncertainty towards our future.  Today can feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Yet, when I consider my life & journey in light of John’s view of eternity I am convinced that each moment matters. That each moment is held together with the strands of eternity I can not always see.  

Years ago, I was struck for the first time by the eternal aspect of our prayers to God. The story of Zechariah & Elizabeth in Luke’s account of Jesus’ coming taught me to see this.  They prayed, pleaded with God for a child.  Years went by.  No child. Then one day in the temple Zechariah is told “Now is the time, your prayers have been answered.” Just like Abraham & Sarah centuries before, God was providing a miraculous child in their old age.  God heard their prayers & answered them in light of eternity. He spoke his “yes”at just the right time. The time that was perfect for the kingdom of heaven. 

I don’t think Elizabeth thought. God was going to say yes.  It was too late.  She asked & time passed so it must have been a “no”. But her prayer was not lost in the cosmos.  It had not gone unanswered.  It just needs to fit into all 3 strands of time. God wove together His past promises, their present longings & our future hope when He answered their prayer. 

Our prayers & our lives are no different.

Paul writes to the early believers that “we know God causes everything to work together. For the good of those love God & are called according to their purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

We are called to live lives of purpose.  Each moment that we we live is woven into the fabric of eternity.  Our pasts & our futures have a home in the present eternity we hold right now. For me, that perspective transforms how I view my life.  It helps me find the focus to choose my next steps & fills with me with hope.  I am anchored in eternity & the God who holds me in his hands is working for good in all the strands of my life.  That is joy for the journey whatever lies ahead. 


This Life

imageHow do you see your life? Do you sit & wonder about how you ended up here?  Do you stare ahead into the uknown with dread? Do you turn toward the memories to escape the present? Do you fix your eyes on today just to make it through?

These can be hard questions for us to ask ourselves. Even more challenging to ask them to one another. They touch so deeply in the heart that we often push the questions away, afraid of what they may stir up within us. Why are we afraid of asking, looking and answering the deep questions of our souls?

Fear & failure. They are bullies that push us around on the playground of life. We listen to them & we allow their taunts to keep us from living in hope & freedom.  Their voices are so loud, their words hit so close to our insecurities, their strikes hurt when they find a place to land. So they have control over us when we live in the shaddows of their power.

My life has not gone the way I thought it would. I have faced the dissapointment & fear of surveying my life as the shaddows of my dreams have drifted across the strange landscape I live in. I have struggled to live in the place that my heart longs to dwell. It has been a challenge not to give up hope when the bullies wander near. This place can keep me a prisoner if I don’t listen to the voices of others calling me out of this place of uncertainty.

Can I be that voice for you? I want to invite you to a safe place. A lush green field where there are no bullies. A place where you are welcome to ask, reflect and speak truthfully. A flat, firm & secure place from wich you can survey your life. Come to my Father’s land with me. This is where we can go, just as we are, to find the hope we long for & gain the strength we need to defend against the bullies. This is where we can come together to find a new view, dream new dreams & honestly face the journey of life with joy.

It’s been a long time since I have written here but I am convinced that we all need good company as we walk the roads before us. So, I am comitting to write about this life of discovery. Will you come with me as I go again & again to this land of my Father in search of joy for this morning?