It’s the first day of Christmas Break for this teacher… and I had grand plans of relaxing, getting a pedicure, and packing for the cruise I get to go on next week (thanks, Mom!). I had intentions of all those things… but I couldn’t get this out of my mind. God has been speaking to me so sweetly these last weeks of Advent, and I knew that I needed to sit and write it all down.
Advent. It comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Advent is a season where we are waiting for the coming of Jesus. We anxiously wait for the Savior to come. I haven’t spent much time celebrating advent because I have been so focused on the ending. I want to bypass the waiting and yearning and count down the days until the real show. My heart has never wanted to spend time in the tension of waiting and wanting because that’s not as nice and fun as the gift in the end. I want to focus on the good rather than the hard waiting it takes to get there.
But this year has been different.
At the beginning of this Advent season, a particular song by Christy Nockels hit me directly in the heart. It speaks about how we need to prepare for the coming of Christ.
“The king is coming.
Open up your eyes to see it.
Open up your ears to hear it.
The king is coming.
Open up your mind,
Open up your heart,
It hit me as I was listening to this song on the way to work one day – was I really open to what Christ wanted to teach me this Advent season??? Were my eyes, ears … heart open to what He wanted to do IN me? Could I have hope and joy – even at this time – when the focus is on a baby – something that I so desperately want but cannot seem to ever have? Could I really have a joyful heart when yet another year comes to an end, and I still don’t get to have what everyone else seems to say is the greatest gift?
After that, it’s like wherever I looked, I was reminded of this. Even when we went to go see Polar Express – where a little boy couldn’t hear the bells of Santa’s sleigh – and then he does. He hears the bell and everything changes. God was (and is) nudging me to open my ears, eyes, and heart. Even in this time of waiting and yearning and wanting – he wants me to open them to what He would teach me.
And so over this Advent season, I have fought hard to open my heart to what God wants to teach me in this season of waiting. Because this season is a season of waiting just as much as it is a season of hope. The Bible is full of people anxiously waiting on the Lord. The Israelites waited on a King (after they had already waited in the desert to enter the promise land)… David speaks to this waiting in the Psalms, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:13-14)” Waiting is an integral part of God working in us. Prophets waited for the coming Christ, and some never saw the prophesy fulfilled in their lifetime.
Waiting is not easy – especially when it’s about something so hard as waiting for a baby – something that seems so easy to come by for many others in my life. At times it seems to suffocate me – this wanting and waiting. People try to help. They want it for me, too. So they say sweet things like, “… not yet.” But the truth is that I am living in the here and now and the “not yet” might always be a “not yet.” That’s the tension – between hope in Christ and God’s “not yet.”
And so then I have to ask myself a question. Does God change if my “not yet” stays that way for the rest of my life? Is He any less trustworthy or good? If He never answers my desperate prayer to have a child of my own… does it enable me to throw up my hands and say that He is no longer for me?
No. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is God with us, Immanuel.
The wait isn’t the bad part – the wait is where God meets me.
That’s advent to me this year – finding joy and hope in knowing that even in the “not yet,” God is still speaking to me and working in me. He wants me to have my eyes, ears, and heart open to what He wants to teach me.
I pray that your ears, eyes, and heart be open to the joy and hope this Advent season as well.
– Crystal is a Christ follower and missional teacher of Leadership Development to three hundred boisterous six graders.. She and her husband, Ben, love living in a great little community of Adel, IA, outside of Des Moines. She loves cheering on the Cyclones, counting her many blessings, the Iowa State Fair, Minnie Mouse, traveling, farm life, her big family, and all things Disney.