Advent. Such an ignored season, submerged under the flood of Christmas – no, X-mas – excess. Imagine, expecting people to enter into four weeks of silence, introspection, and contemplation, just when the tree has to go up, gifts have to be shopped for, baking needs to be done, parties and special events enjoyed. It is a time of rushing and doing, but Advent is meant to be quiet, reposeful waiting.
Waiting. We aren’t very good at that, here in 21st Century America, are we? What the heck are we supposed to be doing all this waiting for?
Well, there was the birth of Jesus, the coming of the Messiah. But that already happened, long ago. So what are we supposed to really be waiting for now? Our pastors tell us in their sermons that we are waiting for the Second Coming of the Messiah, when this world, this universe, even, will be wiped out and replaced with a new one. A lot of people have tried to imagine that new one, and so have I. But it is really beyond human imagining. So is the destruction of the old. So we are waiting for something that we cannot even imagine. If we read our Bibles, we are assured that the End will be terrible, and the New Beginning will be good. OK. But that still leaves me, frankly, tempted to throw myself into feverish buying and wrapping and baking. It’s all just too far beyond me, and too, too big for me. And scary.
Here is what I can wrap my mind around, what I do long for, what I am waiting for: answers. Answers to the questions that torment us, answers that transcend theological formulation and reach into my own bones. I want to know what I am doing here; and what God is up to. I want to see all the injustices in the world made right, even though I know that may include my own comeuppance. I want to drink deeply, slake my thirst for real, live Goodness, even though it could mean exposing what is dark in myself. I want to know why suffering is, and see it ended. I want to never doubt again that I am loved, and be freed to love fully. These are the things I am waiting for.
How about you?