This Sunday evening, the gentle pings of my dad tuning his guitar sounded through the living room. My mom lifted a straw-based wreath circled with pine and red ribbons from its box and set the candles in place, four red and one white.
We lit the Prophecy Candle, read from Isaiah, and sang of the coming of our long-expected Jesus, of Emmanuel. The single flame flickered above the Advent wreath, a promise of the light to come.
Over the last few days, the Lord has been impressing on my heart that Advent is a season of waiting. Of celebration and expectation, yes, but even more of longing, of remembering the long wait for the One promised, of preparing to enter into full celebration that the promise was, in the fullness of time, kept.
In church this Sunday, one of the many young expectant mothers in our congregation caught my eye. She sat while we sang, her head bent protectively above her rounded abdomen, eyes closed, a gentle smile on her face as her husband trailed his fingers tenderly up and down her arm.
And as we sang of waiting on the LORD, it struck me: this had been the package for what the world was waiting for—a tiny baby within the womb of a young mother. How quiet. How unobtrusive. How like our God of paradoxes.
No wonder so many people missed Him.
I don’t want to miss Him this season. It can be so easy to get caught up in all the trappings of Christmas—even those inspired by Him, like carols and Advent wreaths and Nativities—and miss actually drawing near the heart of the One who came. Who came to us. Who became, and still is, God with us.
I honestly haven’t felt particularly close to Him in the past few days. But He continues to remind me that we can’t go by feelings. Of how His people must have felt as they waited hundreds of years with no word from their God, clinging to hope that someday, He would fulfill His promise. Someday, the Messiah would come.
And He did. He has.
So this year, one thing I’ve sensed Him putting on my heart is to take an Advent journey through one of the ways closest to my heart…story. I don’t know yet exactly what form that will take. But I hope to share on this blog snippets of what a C.S. Lewis-loving friend of mine calls “supposals”—what it might have been like to be one of those waiting 2,000 years ago for the arrival of Messiah. And I hope that along the way, we might meet Him more intimately too.