The Christmas season has come! The lights are up, the candy is made, and we are in the midst of parties and gatherings.
I wrote this last year (2018), but couldn’t share it here. It felt too personal. This year feels different in that I want to share it, but the same in that my feelings have not changed drastically. I still feel many of these emotions and think this piece is so relevant to my life now as well.
As I look into this festive season, I can’t help but to reflect on last year, 2017. Zach and I had just moved to Seattle meaning we did not have many friends, but also no obligations. Zach was taking classes, I was barely working, and we had quite a bit of free time. This was also the first year of observing a part of the Church Calendar that I had yet to experience: Advent. Advent in the Christian Calendar is a period of time after “Ordinary Time” and before “Christmas Tide”. It is a time when we actively observe a period of what it must have been like to wait for Christ, to long for Him, and then for Him to come to Earth to fulfill the promise God had made to His people.
Last year was such a beautiful time of rest and peace. Zach and I were waiting with joyful hearts for Christmas to come, and loving the slow pace of a usually hectic season. We took our time walking around the city, eating holiday food, and enjoying our new home.
This year is a bit different. This Advent season has started out less restful than expected and chaos seems to increase with each passing day. There are Holiday Parties galore, fun traditions to observe, and presents to buy. The Christmas cards need to be sent, some need addressed, and I still need to get a White Elephant gift. I am so thankful for the relationships, jobs, and people who have made all of this possible. I have felt so loved this season by friends and family, and am enjoying all the time with others. However, there are the quiet moments, that while they should be filled with rest in my mind, are filled with longing.
Longing is also a part of Advent, and also a part of Christmas that I am not familiar with. I know about the impatience of the season, but longing is not usually an emotion I am prepared to engage during this time.
This year is different.
I long for a child during this season of warmth, love, and joy. I long to hear his or her footsteps running through the house, the squeals of joy from looking at the lights, or eating cookies, or chasing our poor cat to play with him. I long for another person to enter our lives, and I long for the time for this to to be right now.
This is a longing that is deep, emotional, and a joyful pain. A joy knowing that one day it will be fulfilled in some way, and pain in knowing that the timing is not right.
Soon it will be time, but during this season made for resting in waiting and longing, it is hard to remember that His timing is best.
Isn’t the irony so perfect? The parallels of waiting for a child to come, one who will teach me love, and one who is God of the universe prepared to save me from death. Different of course, but during this season, very similar in the lesson of patiently waiting, patiently longing, and patiently trusting God’s timing.
This time of year is always portrayed as a time full of joy, lights, and material fulfillment, when in reality, some of us are painfully, obediently waiting for God’s timing to come.
Take heart. The time is coming. The Christ will arrive after this season of waiting in Advent, and God’s promises are always fulfilled by Him.