I admit, sometimes life feels like a perpetual Advent. I am always waiting, waiting, always waiting for life to improve and get better. Isn’t that part of what hope is? After reading the Times today, I prayed for the people of Syria and Egypt and North Korea, asking God to be merciful.
Some days I congratulate myself for waiting 1 or 2 minutes in line at a store without losing my cool.
But then I consider the late Nelson Mandela, who waited 27 years in a South African prison for his freedom. My wife, Jennifer, and I toured the prison on Robben Island where Mandela was held, 6 miles off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. I looked into the tiny cell where he lived for 17 years of his 27 years of imprisonment. Very sobering, to say the least. Talk about waiting, waiting, waiting…
I can imagine that there may be a longing that has made your life feel like a perpetual Advent. Romans 8, one of my favorite chapters to read at Christmas, reminds us that even creation itself awaits the return of Christ to make all things new.
For now, though, we show up and hang in there, believing that in the end, nothing will ever separate us from the love of Christ. Even as we groan along with creation when words cannot give voice to the pain of waiting, we must try to choose daily to live in joyful anticipation … never giving up our hope.
On this December 23rd evening I am indeed waiting and watching and looking. And tonight I am remembering…remembering the words of JRR Tolkien that says one day soon there will be a final Advent when the trumpet will sound and Christ himself will descend through the clouds.
Suddenly our waiting will be over. At that final, glorious Advent, says Tolkien, we will experience a “joy more poignant that grief.”
Joy to the World! … Come Lord Jesus!