For most of us, the Christmas celebration began long before we finish eating our Halloween candy. When the clock struck midnight, the fall decor was consigned to basement bins and the wreaths, stockings, nativity sets were brought forth.
Before Advent had even arrived, we rushed past the waiting and to the fulfillment of God’s promises at Christmas. Is it because our hearts can’t stand the waiting? Are our hearts so broken that we even join in the longing of God’s people?
Advent beckons us to enter into the long wait God’s promised people experienced.
From the moment that forbidden fruit was plucked from the tree, we were torn from the life we were intended for and have been waiting, longing for the world to be made whole. Because we trusted in the promise that the Messiah would come.
Can we stop for a minute and think about the weariness of the world before the Christ child appeared? Because I’m pretty sure that we are still an aching, weary world waiting to see Him again. We are aching from years of saying, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom the bride You won!Can we stop for a minute and think about the weariness of the world before the Christ child appeared? Because I’m pretty sure that we are still an aching, weary world waiting to see Him again. Click To Tweet
And when we skip over Advent, over the waiting, I fear we sell ourselves short. Because when we ignore the waiting, when we bury it deep down and pretend that all is well in the here and now, we send a message to our hearts and to those around us that we do not believe we are waiting for more.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV
Can we wait for Christmas this year and celebrate it in its proper time?
Can we savor the season of Advent, the season of longing, the season of expectant hope in the midst of darkness before we see the promises fulfilled? Because maybe we need to learn the habit of waiting for God to do something so that we can be reminded that He does indeed keep His promises. Maybe Advent is here to teach us to discipline our bodies and our minds and our souls to wait for the things we cannot see to know in our hearts what is coming even though we cannot see or touch it.
Can we truly celebrate at the right time for celebration instead of forcing the celebration beforehand because we can’t bear the weight of waiting?Can we truly celebrate at the right time for celebration instead of forcing the celebration beforehand because we can't bear the weight of waiting? Click To Tweet
Beforehand, can we wait? Can we be still in a moment of expectation and trust God?
What if this was the Advent where we actually observed Advent so that we could truly savor Christmas? All 12 days. And the entire season that follows through until the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. What if instead of letting the world dictate when we celebrated Christmas, we dictated it and we trained ourselves to celebrate it in the pattern that Christians have for thousands of years
Because we need the longing, the waiting, the uncertainty to remember why we truly celebrate Christmas.
We spent years in darkness and now we’ve seen a great light. But that is not the end of the story.
The Light is coming again and to finish the work He began in that manger and on that cross.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. – Galatians 4:4-5, ESV
Can we let our hearts experience that longing that is still not fulfilled and remember that we are not the first to ask God when He will make good on what He has said?
If you and I take time to long this Advent, we will not be left in despair. Our God is a good who fulfills promises, and Christmas is here to remind us of that. And when we remembering the longing, the fulfillment of our joy is so much sweeter.