Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Wait

I’m impatient.  Don’t like long lines.  Poor customer service irritates me.  I like quick fixes.  Impatience isn’t a good life skill to have.  My guess is that most Cubs fan are impatient people that a good God has decided need a healthy dose of ‘waiting skills’.  I’m one of those Cub fans.

Liturgical churches have a ‘waiting’ season.  We call it Advent.  It’s a forced bit of calendaring that slows down a mad rush to Christmas.  The deal is that we are to spend some time anticipating the birth of the Savior.  It’s a little strange because we spend time hoping for something that has already occurred.  Liturgical masterminds hope we can use a bit of imagination and put ourselves into the story of Christmas.  Can we begin to see, here, smell, and touch the very familiar story so that it takes on meaning afresh?

As impatient as I can be I’m looking forward to slowing down the season a bit this year.  I’m sensing I need a fresh infusion of anticipation. 

I’m one of those people who doesn’t jump up and down gleefully during this season. Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not a scrooge (entirely).  It’s just that the hustle and bustle combined with holiday expectation takes its toll on me.  Couple all that with the disjointedness that a divorce causes on a family and it’s a recipe for some unsettledness.

And so I have to work on this Christmas thing.  And thus I’m a bit thankful for a church that believes in entering into an Advent kind of experience.  My soul needs a fresh movement of the rediscovery of the season.

Today I read Psalm 40: 1-3 from The Message.

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. 
   He lifted me out of the ditch, 
      pulled me from deep mud. 
   He stood me up on a solid rock 
      to make sure I wouldn't slip. 
   He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, 
      a praise-song to our God. 
   More and more people are seeing this: 
      they enter the mystery, 
      abandoning themselves to God.

I’ve felt like that.  I’ve waited and waited. Felt like I was in a ditch and needing solid rock.  And God met me in unexpected ways.  I need God to meet me again.  Maybe you do too.  But the waiting is hard especially when the way out is entering into ‘mystery’ instead of certainty and when abandoning yourself to God is the very last thing on your mind.

On my journey recently I’m encountering some pretty hurt people.  The holiday season seems to bring unsettling emotion to the forefront.  A whole lot of folks I know are waiting for a God that they aren’t even sure they want to see show up.  Because when he does He’ll get an earful. They want to ‘abandon themselves to God’ but are sick and tired of the uncertainty of the mystery.

Maybe this describes you. 

Maybe Advent is just what you need.  It’s where the ‘hopes and fears of all the years’ are laid out on the table.  And maybe that’s where we all start.  We lay are cards on the table, admitting our doubts and certainties, our pain and our joy and dare God to help us make sense of it all.  Such is the way of faith.  It’s not for the faint hearted.  It’s a necessary journey into the truth of our own lives and a hope filled yearning for a God who will indeed show up and makes things ‘alright’ again.

It’s in the ‘in between time’ that we live during Advent.  Will God really show up?  And if He doesn’t what will happen? Will we embrace the ‘waiting’ for another season?  And if He does will I recognize His presence?  And if I do recognize God will I willingly abandon myself to Him?  

So we wait and wonder.  Advent.

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