As I lit candles on our Thanksgiving table, I considered gratitude, Advent and waiting. There’s that fun, breath held anticipation, waiting in a garage full of balloon-wielding teenagers, for the moment of ‘SURPRISE’…
But there’s also waiting, hoping for our world to change for the better. We see this community where too many children are without fathers and mothers. Where too many parents struggle with how to love well amongst the daily strains. Where there is too much sickness and death. Yet there is light. There is warmth, welcome and joy like I’ve rarely experienced. As we remember to be grateful and look for the good, we can see those glimpses of light. In an orange bus full of kids I saw some of that joy and hope as they sang. We had two days away at camp, full of fun, games, and memories made. It’s a privilege to witness those lights shining!
I love what Rachel Held Evans has to say about Advent:
“Advent is a season of anticipation, of holy waiting. It is a waiting characterized not by idleness or even contented peace, but by prophetic yieldedness and active hope. Perhaps more than any other season in the Christian calendar, Advent acknowledges the already-and-not-yet nature of the Kingdom of God. In remembering the anticipation of Christ’s first coming, we acknowledge and nurture our anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Advent is a season for the prophets, for the dreamers, for the poets. A great light has shown, but there is still so much darkness to pierce, so much gloom to overcome.
Advent should be a season of surprises too, of God showing up when and where we least expect Emmanuel: in a womb, in a barn, as a poor minority in an oppressive empire, at the soup kitchen, at that church service you resisted attending, in that family member with whom you disagree, in every corner of this world from Ferguson, Missouri, to Palestine, to your kitchen. It a season to slow down and pay attention, to listen to the prophets, to look for God in God’s distressing disguises.”