ADVENT CONNECTIONS 2015: Week Two

Advent 2015 Week 2 seedling

A friend of mine says that Advent reminds him of nostomania, which is defined as intense homesickness; or an irresistible urge/compulsion to return home.  The period of the four weeks of Advent gives us the gift of waiting—a time when we are reminded that we are not in control, that we are dependent on God’s grace in our lives and for our very breath.  Advent is a time when we recognize our longing for God to intervene in our lives.

 God’s people have always been a waiting people. The people of Israel spent generations as a waiting people:
  • Abraham and Sarah waited for their promised son
  • Moses waited for decades, tending sheep in the wilderness
  • The Israelites in Egypt has to endure years of slavery and suffering, waiting for a deliverer . . . and then they waited another 40 years in the desert!
  • David waited years after being anointed before he became king
  • God’s people waited in exile in Babylon for 70 years
  • They waited again for a deliverer, the promised Messiah, enduring 400 years of silence from God, after Malachi, the last prophet until the coming of John the Baptist
  • We are now part of Christ’s new kingdom—which is here in part, but we are waiting for it to fully come (“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”)
So what are the gifts of waiting?  One is that the times of waiting and expectancy in our lives help us to savour the joy of fulfillment.  We need to live with the night and darkness before we can appreciate the coming of dawn.  God has woven this theme into nature—an expectant mother has to wait nine months before she sees the face of her child.  A seed is buried in the ground, invisible to us, before it emerges into the light of day.
 
Often it seems that we are waiting on God—to answer our prayers, to bring healing and restoration, to fix something!  But God also waits on us.  He waits for us to grow and mature, to be ready for the next stage of growth. He does not force and coerce; he waits.
 
Back to nostomania:  if you never leave home, you never get to experience the joy and comfort of coming back home.  If we never have to wait for something, we lose out on the internal work that God wants to accomplish, as well as the joy of finally seeing his purpose fulfilled.  What are you waiting for?  And how is God working in the waiting?
 

Oh, Come, Oh, Come Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
 
Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
 
Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
 
Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
 
Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
Contributed by Cyndy Ingram
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