I cannot recall a time of actively participating in the Advent season. Not on purpose, I have just had other things going on during “the busy holiday season.”
But this year, the focus seems slower and I see this word surrounding me. Advent – what I have come to understand as a time that we wait in preparation of the birth of Christ.
That is the season.
For me, this season is longer than the holidays and bigger than Christmas.
And I have never claimed to be good at waiting. I began to accept this as a character trait and gave into the impatience allowing it to drive my actions and reactions. But God has been gracious in (constantly) letting my patience stretch through the waiting. And just when I think I have it down, I wait again.
Within the waiting, I find myself becoming restless. I think this is partly because we have lost the beauty of waiting. We have become a culture so overstimulated that being without a filler of our time causes us to think something is wrong when it may be the most right place we could be. What makes this difficult is the unfamiliarity with the stillness; the uncomfortable or the struggle that becomes evident in that place.
Look at what you do when you are waiting in line at Starbucks, when you pump your gas, when you find yourself standing in the middle of an almost empty lobby. Reach for your phone? Check instagram? Start making dinner plans?
There is something lost in that moment besides time. That is what this season is calling forth. That time is precious and valuable, but not valued in that precarious moment.
What if we stopped?
And that was it. Just stopped.
What if we allowed our time to be broken in order to feel that gap of the wait? What if we shifted ourselves to be in a place positioned to see the coming of the Christ? What if we sought out the signs and wonders? What if we gave pause to consider the magnitude of the magnificence?
It is through compassionate love that Glory has already made the first move towards you and me; and it is through compassionate love that Glory continues to move towards you and me; and it is because of compassionate love that Glory will return for you and me.
(If you would like a tool to help give pause during this season, try this free download of Good News of Great Joy, Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper. A lovely friend passed it on to me and I would love to pass it on to you.)