For many of us, sadly, the spirit of Christmas is “hurry”. And yet, eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a close. It is only now perhaps that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days or weeks, but of centuries… since that holy night in Bethlehem. Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush may do us greater service than we realize. With all its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.
Waiting at a bus stop on one end of a major curve in the road is a great analogy for what hope and faith are all about. You know the bus is coming, your bus schedule says it will, and yet you cannot see its arrival until it makes that final bend toward you.
As we anticipate the joyful celebration of Christ’s birth in just a few days, let’s stand on His promises. We may not yet see them before our eyes, but His word is Truth, and the fulfilment of those promises are just around the bend.
I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over. There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m so thankful for Advent. Consider it a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.
A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.
While you might be in a waiting season, it’s not a season for you to be lethargic or sluggish in your spirit. Press in and keep doing what God has called you to do until the next door opens. Stasis is never a posture of a Christian.