08 Dec Preparing to Birth Something…in YOU
We are now half-way through the season of Advent. Over the years, I have developed a deeper and deeper appreciation for this liturgical season, which invites us to slow down, anticipate, and prepare for the coming of Jesus, rather than rush straightaway to the manger as soon as the Thanksgiving feast is cleared away.
Advent literally means “coming.” In this season we celebrate the first coming of Christ, his Incarnation, but we also anticipate his future second coming. And with both “comings” in focus, we face the invasive news that it is time to think about new possibilities for deliverance and human wholeness. Peace is at the heart of the promise of Advent, but it is a peace that only comes when vulnerability, repentance, and forgiveness are practiced—not to mention, patience.
Waiting is a central theme during Advent, but when you think about it, waiting is pretty central to every season in both life and faith. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything passive about the waiting we do in Advent. If anything, the temptation during this month is to be too busy, too active with plans and preparations. It usually requires being intentional and deliberate to set aside time for quiet reflection, for prayer and worship, and for pondering the great mystery that is ushered in by the Incarnation, as well as its meaning for our lives.
Waiting has never been easy for me, and I suspect I’m not alone. Part of the challenge is that much of our waiting is done in the dark. We wait because we cannot see what is ahead, cannot see the answer, cannot see the next step, which is why waiting and faith are so inextricably intertwined. In that dark space of unknowing, I am faced with a choice: will I trust that God is at work, that I’m not alone or haven’t been forgotten, that there is more going on than I can see, and that it is good?
Scripture uses a phrase, “the fullness of time” to indicate when a period of waiting is over because the anticipated event or time has come to pass. The birth of Jesus heralds the news that Advent waiting is over. The fullness of time has come and with this one event, God’s deliverance and plans for human wholeness are enacted in a new way. But, of course, that fullness of time came 400 years after the Israelites had last heard a prophet proclaim the “Word of the Lord.” Sometimes, waiting takes a very long time, indeed.
As we approach these final days of Advent, I invite you to spend a little time in the dark, waiting in the silence, watching and listening for signs of Christ’s coming. In the stillness, will you breathe in the peace that God’s presence with you offers? Will you trust the Lord with whatever burden you are carrying? Will you choose faith over fear or worry? In the waiting, God is preparing to birth something new in you. Will you open your heart and prepare to receive it?