Advent: Slowing Down

It seems we spend our lives waiting. As children we long and wait to grow up, to finish school, get a job,  get married, have kids … for people to change, to be healed, to find purpose. Truth be told, we can find ourselves in an endless holding pattern. Just waiting. And it’s hard and frustrating, and even when we know all the right answers and we buck up and face reality, it is difficult to make our minds believe what our spirit’s know — when the heart waits.

You may be like me.  I love Christmas; the buying and the baking, the surprises and stories, the planning and the presents, the traditions and the truth of the Gospel.  And since having children my genuine excitement over the celebration has only grown. We spend weeks reading Christmas books, the fantastical and the stories of faith. We become our own little bakery and watch festive movies, and it’s all building up to Christmas Eve.  As I wait impatiently to see their faces on Christmas morning, after weeks of secrecy, seeing dreams realized, longings fulfilled, I am reminded of that Gift that was given so many years ago, and the world did not recognize Him. They had been waiting for this moment, but the Gift was unaccepted, barely noticed.

We find ourselves on the outside looking in at this scene so humble, and we rarely see ourselves as part of this, the greatest Story ever told. This could be why we miss the holy moments in the waiting.

Advent is about expectation, preparation, waiting. As we enter this season, I want to slow down and experience the gift that it is. This year I am challenging myself to lean into the difficult, to see the divine in the commonplace, the unexpected joy in the pain, the beauty in the ugly, the holy in the waiting.  To re-read and experience  people who were contributing to His story without even knowing it and to rest in the knowledge that He is also using me and my experiences … you and your story, gently and persistently weaving it all together for His glory.

Sometimes we can see His fingerprints all over the place, and other times He is strangely silent as we wander through life, often only going through the motions, but just like He arrived unexpectedly in that stable, He shows up in the mundane and in the mess and He is doing a work, creating beauty out of ashes, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to slow down and notice.

I want to think about the hard stuff of life and find Him there … to pray that He would bring redemption and hope, restore love, ignite joy, and breathe peace into our days. Yes, to be anchored in Him this Christmas season.

Even so, come Lord, Jesus, Come!