Tomorrow, we begin the four-Sunday journey of Advent, setting aside our day-in, day-out glut of interests and intrigues, dramas and joys, and dusting off, once more, our longing for the coming of the Messiah. I say dusting off because in the other eleven months of the year, we often get shoved along life’s conveyor belt and are kept busy taking care of business (and indulging in a smattering of our own pleasures). So, admittedly, Advent requires a bit of a pivot in our thinking.
The first of Advent’s four themes is: hope. As we settle our thoughts, let’s consider what our hope is, in view of the Messiah’s coming this year. What longing do we find waiting to be expressed? Which aspect of our current set of circumstances is most impacted by the arrival of the Messiah? What giftings get stirred up in us (anew) as we linger? What ignored nudges of the Holy Spirit come to the fore as we sit quietly with this theme? Can we really dare to hope for our personal renewal? A rebirthing of our joy? Our resilience? Our obedience? Yet another second chance??
It’s about basking – investing expanses of time unhurriedly waiting, thoughts taken captive, heart rate slowed, fidgets calmed (this really is possible, trust me! But do be patient with yourself at the beginning). Hope invites us into the quiet which is the realm of the Holy Spirit. We sometimes sing: ‘In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait only for You, ‘cause I want to know You more.’ And wouldn’t it mean everything to us to have the Messiah speak to us, even as he did in his letters to the churches which he dictated to John? Wouldn’t it be beautiful to have someone, who loves us unchangingly, bring a word of correction, knowing that the love would still radiate in our direction in the ‘after’? These are just some of my thoughts in preparing to get together tomorrow, 10 AM EST, 3 PM UK, 4 PM FR. PD