As I mentioned earlier, the whole concept of advent is somewhat new and unfamiliar to me. From what I understand, the overall theme is of waiting and anticipation.
I also posted a couple of months ago about beginning to pray the daily office. Although my participation is sometimes sporadic, I have come to appreciate the familiarity and repetition of the daily prayers.
Brother Maynard’s book, That You Might Believe, celebrates advent through the use of the daily office. Now familiar with that rhythm and structure, I look forward to using the book, prayers, and readings that he has compiled for this season.
As I said, the overall theme of advent is of waiting. The theme from the book for the first week of advent is hope.
This presented a bit of a problem for me as I approach the holiday season with clenched teeth, waiting for it to get over. In spite of the fact that I know better, hope feels far away.
I am not waiting for Christ’s birth, which happened over 2000 years ago. We all know December 25 isn’t really his birthday, and even if it were, the traditions and festivities often feel like a distraction rather than a celebration of His presence among us. I hope that advent is more than just a countdown to the big present day.
I also am not really waiting for His second coming. It would be great if it were tomorrow, but I’m not counting on it. Sometimes I feel the longing described in 2Corinthians5, “to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” Can’t we just skip this part and get on with the eternal stuff?
Sorry, this isn’t really cheery so far, is it?
So what about waiting? What about hope?
I wait and hope for His indwelling presence. I wait and hope for His light to break through the darkness. I wait and hope for the revelation of His kingdom. Christ with us, Christ among us. This is my expectation and hope.
In spite of the fact that I am achingly hungry for His voice and for more awareness of His presence, I do not take for granted the underlying hope that I have in the fact that He has already reconciled us to Himself.
This passage from Lamentations 3:21-26 is appropriate here.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
I wait for Him, with hope to feel the nearness of His presence, and with expectation that, by His grace, He will provide the hope that I sometimes lack in my soul.
A few words of hope from Graham Cooke describing the Lord’s provision for us:
“All you need is here by Me.
Provision, peace and a rest for your soul
Come and sit quietly by Me.
I am the pool of water by your feet
I am the manna falling
I am the raven feeding you
The tree of life that gives you shade
I am the gentle breeze that kisses your brow
I am the eagle’s cry, watching over you from above
I am the velvet paws of the lion padding protectively around your camp.
Step back, far back into your spirit
Practice being still, learn the way of peace.”
“The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”
The following is a list of all those participating in the advent synchroblog.
- Brother Maynard
- Adam Copeland
- Lori Bjerkander
- Robin Dugall
- Julie Clawson
- Lainie Petersen
- John the Shepherd
- Glenn Jordan
- Lyn Hallewell
- Matt Stone
- Peggy Brown
- Rob Robinson
- J. Michael Matkin
- Christine Sine
- Cindy Bryan
- Eric G.