Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD.
Christmas season as a mama of young children sometimes feels like a deep isometric stretch – a steady work of holding joy and calm, while the muscles of the heart burns with laying our lives down, carrying the load of work for the sake of our family’s jubilation.
Together, we hold the immense privilege and the immense responsibility of being mama.
I feel on my shoulders the honor and the duty to steer through the busyness with grace, while working to create a home of peace, and a steadfast notice of Emmanuel.
This season, I revel in the abundance of joy, the abundance of events, the abundance of distractions, the abundance of blessing, the sheer abundance of the day. And I’m holding a posture of praise with quivering muscles, while the rush of more, faster, better badgers me.
You too, Mama?
The eyes of our children are full of hopeful expectancy and carefree delight. The days are sprinkled with countdowns and Advent calendars full of chocolate and burgeoning excitement that sometimes feels more like a tornado in our homes. But their waiting is what makes Christmas morning so sweet. Their waiting draws them in, and prepares their hearts for explosive joy on Christmas morning.
The mystery breeds the magic.
And for all of us, Advent is about waiting and preparing, yes for presents, but ultimately for the most extraordinary gift of Christ. But I can’t help but notice that we aren’t very good at waiting these days. In the days of high-speed internet, digital pictures (remember when we had to take them to get developed?), Amazon Prime with free one day delivery, and GoogleMaps that can tell us how to avoid the traffic…waiting can feel unfamiliar, and awkward.
I think God’s Word whispers that waiting and faith go hand-in-hand, and I sense a sweetness in resting in the arms of God in the in-between place.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.
Hebrews 11: 1-2 NIV
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Isaiah 25: 9 KJV
I wonder if Advent is meant to invite us in to the mystery that requires us to trust. I wonder if preparing to receive Christ looks a bit like working the muscle of delighting in God amidst waiting. The heroes of our faith drew close to the heart of God while waiting for answers to prayers, waiting for promises to be fulfilled, waiting for dreams to come true. I’m falling in love with a season placed in our calendars that was meant to invite us to wait and prepare to freshly receive the fulfillment of the greatest promise – the promise of a Rescuer, a Savior, a King.
In 2017, busy is a bit more comfortable than slow. A season to get things done is more familiar than a season meant to be an interlude. Most of us feel more closely acquainted with work than with rest.
But I sense a beautiful invitation in Advent, to find God in the pause, to let our hearts rest in the wait, to let our wonder and our longing grow, and to let a joyful anticipation for Christ well up in our souls.
I taste the wonder of Christmas when I sing Silent Night, or when I sit by our Christmas tree and watch the flames wink and dance in my fireplace. I feel that flutter of excitement in my chest, and for a moment, I grasp the magnitude of God With Us, as I simply let my heart pause and accept the discomfort of still.
In waiting, God invites us to come a little bit closer to his heart, and to be held, not by certainty and predictability, but by his arms of goodness and grace.
Whatever you might be waiting for this Christmas…a prayer to be answered, a longing to be fulfilled, or simply to be finished with all the To Do’s of the season, may your aching be met by the eyes of God inviting you to be held.
And may your Christmas morning be a sweet fulfillment of your deepest longing…may you feel met by Lover of our Souls, who came to dwell among us, to reconcile us to himself, and to invite us into the intimate nearness with him that we were made to enjoy.