Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thoughts on Advent (waiting)

Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
Or waiting for wind to fly a kite.
Or waiting around for Friday night
Or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake
Or a pot to boil or a better break
Or a string of pearls or a pair of pants
Or a wig with curls or another chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
But somehow...
You will escape all that waiting and staying
And find the bright places where boom bands are playing.
-Dr. Seuss

Although I like what the good doctor is getting at here in this exerpt from Oh the Places You'll Go, I wonder if there might be some value in an Advent kind of waiting. Advent is defined somewhere as "waiting (especially for a momentous occasion)." Is there a kind of good, healthy, helpful waiting? Or, as Seuss eludes, is waiting more a kind of not being content and present to the moment? Is waiting antithetical to Carpe Diem?

I know for me, I like and maybe even need seasons of waiting. The waiting is often better than the actual moment. We have all experienced PCD (Post Christmas Depression) - the inevitable letdown after the big day. And maybe that is good, healthy and in its right place. Maybe Advent-Christmas is just a shadow of our greatest hungering and thirsting for that great, momentous occasion when God will so incarnate himself in the cosmos that all things will be make right and beautiful. When all our greatest "hopes and fears through all the years will rest in him" fully and for all eternity. 

We experience glimpses and foretastes of the coming season, the coming kingdom - when we experience the Christmas magic of peace on earth and goodwill toward men and women. When there is that joy to the world because the Lord has come. 

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled." -Jesus

C.S. Lewis says that if we find a desire that no earthly thing can satisfy, one can only conclude that we were made for a different kind of world. As we hope and long and hunger and thirst and let ourselves get too excited and giddy and eat too much and as we inevitably get disappointed by the anticlimax, the quarrels, the stress, the materialism, etc... Let us put our ultimate hope in the final putting-right momentous occasion of Jesus' return. Do you remember how in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Narnia is cursed with years when it is always winter and never Christmas. But when Aslan returns Christmas comes, the snows thaw and Spring and life come! 

I'll end this with a quote from my 4/y/o son. This morning we were sitting during a worship gathering and he whispered in my ear, "In the daytime the angels are too big to see, but in the nighttime we can see them because they are not too big or too small." I have no idea what he meant, where he got that idea, or why I even share it with you now, except that it somehow rang true. God is working and playing in this world and with our eyes wide open in the light of the day, maybe God, and God's angels are somehow too big to see. Let us slow down, dim the lights, light a candle, light a Christmas tree and experience the miracle again of the angel coming at night saying, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you..."

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