Sunday, November 28, 2010

Waiting, expecting, hoping

Last night we sat around the table as a family and began our Advent celebration. The first week of our readings focuses on a word we have talked about plenty this year, HOPE. How could we have made it through these days without a belief there is something better coming?


The liturgy of this season is not a formality for us. We are in every way living the spiritual journey as individuals and as a family. Each one of us shared our own hopes and then we sang several carols. I used to wonder about families who were really committed to spiritual practice in their homes. I don't mean just saying grace before meals or you might choke kind of stuff, but true "going through the motions" that creates something so much more. I grew up in a very religious home but without the rituals of Advent and Lent, without a nativity and a cross around my neck. I am becoming convinced these symbols and traditions can speak sometimes the most clearly to our children's young hearts. When they see Him in the manger it becomes more than just a story. He is alive and asking them to be born too.

A week in to our time back at home, and I have railed against the demand to keep sitting here. I want Danica to be walking and running and playing. I want our family to go see lights and visit Santa and attend Delaney's Christmas program and family gatherings together. I want to feel well enough to do all the special little things my family has come to expect me to do this time of year. Instead, God is telling me to do the opposite of all this season has become and reclaim what it is really meant to be.


After I tucked the girls in I read more Luci Shaw from Accompanied By Angels,

" . . . In our nights,
our complicated modern dreams
rarely flower into visions. No contemporary
Gabriel dumbfounds our worship,
or burning visits our bedrooms.
No signpost satellite hauls us, earthbound
but star struck, half round the world
with hope. Are our sensibilities too blunt
to be assaulted with spatial power-plays
and far out proclimations of peace
Sterile, skeptics, yet we may be broken
to his slow, silent, birth, his beginning
new in us. His big-ness may still burst
our self containment to tell us,
without angels' mouths, FEAR NOT.

God knows we need to hear it, now,
when he may shatter, with his most shocking
coming, this proud, cracked place,
and more if, for longer waiting,
he does not."

I wrote this verse, Isaiah 43:19, in the margin next to the poem, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Fear not. He is making a way. He is doing a new thing. We are waiting. We are expecting. Our hope remains.

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