Lights are twinkling, trees are decked, and Bing Crosby is once more crooning on radio stations and in stores. Mr. Max is full of anticipation of the Christmas morning to come with dreams of fabulous presents. Plans are being made for yuletide celebrations. The Christian community is waiting and reflecting during the advent season. My house is not an exception. We are decorated, we are waiting, and I at least, have been reflecting. I am not sure what we are waiting for this year though.
It seems almost surreal that we are already once again in the season of hope. I feel as though I only just took down the decorations and put the Christmas tree away last week. Where has this past year gone? Did I take part in it at all? My overall demeanor is closer to the Grinch than to an eager Christian celebrating the birth of God’s salvation plan for man.
As I reflect on the past twelve months I observe that, while I am about 20 pounds lighter, my year wasn’t spent losing weight by embracing a new healthier lifestyle. Nor was it spent in hours of prolific writing as I have only eighteen blog posts prior to this one to brag about in addition to a few handwritten journal entries. My schedule isn’t any lighter, I am still over committed in many areas of my life leaving no time for new callings. Although I have read several books this year, it was nowhere near the amount I had intended to devour in the pursuit of educating myself and has barely made a dent into the ever-growing list of material to read.
I find myself in a funk of sorts this Advent wondering why the usual joy and excitement that usually comes in this season of giving for me is missing. Is there something wrong with me? Have the stresses of this past year worn me down leaving me too exhausted to feel the normal excitement? Or is this perhaps a rite of passage somehow connected with me becomimg another year older?
Is it possibly the results of a deeper faith and a maturing relationship with Jesus, the Savior, whose birth we are celebrating this month? I would like to think so, but I am still a babe with a lot to learn when it comes to having a deep and meaningful relationship with the Father. Maybe I am not feeling overjoyed by the season itself because I have been in reflection and anticipation mode all year in a different kind of Advent? I have been embracing the spirit of the Advent season all year.
Many of the posts I have written have centered around what I am anticipating is a new calling for me. A lot of reflection has been done on what my kingdom work is going forward. Future posts may need to revolve around patience for God’s timing and embracing faith, hope, and joy.
This year has taught me some valuable lessons. I don’t have to be the “Yes” person all the time. There are limits on my time and energy levels and no matter how much I want to please others I just can’t possibly ever do it all. It has also shown me that the limits I put on myself can be quickly overcome when I listen to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit in my ear.
So it is my prayer that with God’s grace and help, I will stop focusing on what I haven’t done this past year and begin focusing even more on the One who can do impossible things in me. I will reflect, anticipate, and wait for whatever He has in store for me yet and concentrate on my callings going into an as yet uncertain future. Perhaps the most important thing I need is to realize and learn is I am part of God’s Kingdom on Earth and I need to be present and doing my part in the here and now at this particular stage of my life. No more peering into a distant future that I can’t see, but showing up to be present today.
Listening for the one who calls me, ready to answer His bidding.
Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doors. (Proverbs 8:34 – NRSV)
One thought on “The Advent of Waiting”
Shannon, this reads like a Christmas homily. Thank you for your transparence. As you well know, the process of becoming like Christ is not an easy journey. I often struggle with quieting myself enough to hear what is really going on. Wherecis the turbulence in my soul coming from? What is God saying to me? What am I going to do about it? These fleeting glimpses we occationally catch of our soul are like freeze-frame photographs. They capture in still form the secret goings on beneath the surface and show us the path we must continue to follow.