Week 1: Reflections on Waiting
The theme for the first week of Advent is waiting. The Old Testament foretold of the Messiah and his certain coming to usher in a new kingdom. The Jews were waiting for him. The New Testament foretells of Christ’s coming again of which we are to remain watchful and ready. We are waiting for him. The focus of this week is to acknowledge the reality that part of being human is the experience of waiting. We are all waiting. We all want more. These are longings hard-wired into us by God to wait on him.
Morning: Psalm 146, 147; Evening: Psalm 111, 112, 113
Isa. 1:1-9; 2 Pet. 3:1-10; Matt. 25:1-13
Have you ever experienced deep longing? The kind that makes you ache to the core of your being. A longing that drives you to your knees, sometimes leaving you prostrate on the floor. A longing so specific you could draw its picture. A longing so deep that it consumes your thoughts, your conversations, and even your dreams.
Eighteen years ago, I did! It seemed that my longing for a child consumed every area of life! Because Mark and I had wanted to adopt transracially for many years, I very specifically longed for my arms, for my heart, to be filled with a Hispanic daughter. A little girl with “café con leche” skin and big brown eyes just like her Daddy. And, oh by the way, it would be wonderful if that longing were fulfilled soon, before I turned 30! Since my birthday was only six months away, and we had not even heard of a birth mother by Advent 1992, much less met someone who wanted us to be the parents to her child, it seemed like an impossibility. I could not have known that God had created, and was molding and shaping our daughter in her birth mother’s womb at that very moment. I could not have dared to imagine that she would be born a month after Christmas!
This Advent, as I recently sat praying for my beautiful brown-eyed, almost 18-year-old Mexican daughter, Julia-Scott, it occurred to me that I was very much like the Israelites two thousand years ago. Surely, they had a longing for the prophesied, promised Messiah. Surely, they had specific ideas concerning who they expected Him to be. Surely, they had a short time frame in mind; after all, they had already waited so long. Like me, they could not have known that God had created, and was molding and shaping Jesus in Mary’s womb at that very moment. They could not have dreamed that their long-awaited Messiah would be born in a stable to a virgin, with only the angels to herald His birth!
Longing. This Advent season, do I ache for Jesus? Is it a longing that drives me to my knees? Is it specific and consuming? Am I waiting for Him with expectation and anticipation? “Come, Thou long expected Jesus!”
Come, Thou long expected Jesus; Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation; Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation; Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver; Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever; Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit; Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit; Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
-by Charles Wesley