“Rejoice, rejoice, take heart in the night, through cold the winter and cheerless…”
As the temperatures continue to fall and the longest nights of the year are upon us, it can feel rather cheerless despite the merry music and dazzling decorations. As the world sings Joy to the World, we wait wondering when this will all be over. When will the virus be over? When will the isolation be over? When will the grief be over? When?
If this time of waiting has you a little less jubilant than you desire, perhaps you are living into Advent just as it is meant to be. So often we rush from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but I believe this year we are given the gift of truly experiencing waiting. Waiting in the unknown. Waiting in loneliness and loss. Waiting in anticipation. As long and hard as these days feel, this is a gift. Because in waiting, the gift of the promise becomes so much more joyous.
Recently, my kids asked if they could just open their gifts now. I asked them what Christmas would feel like if they opened all of their gifts now and did not wait for Christmas. “Oh, I didn’t think of that.” Waiting builds anticipation. Waiting enriches the promise. Waiting gives space for the reality of life to meet the promises of God. And when that happens, it is salve for our soul.
What is to come will be all the more joyous because of the waiting we have endured. So perhaps as we wait, the promise of a Savior will stir a bit deeper within us this year. Perhaps as we wait, the gift of new life will hold new meaning this year. Perhaps as we wait, the hope of gathered friends and family will be treasured more this year.
These days are hard and yet, have hope “the rising sun shall crown you with light…” God blesses us with hope these days, hope for a day when what is lost and broken and painful will be restored. Even in the difficult days, have hope my dear friends for we have a God who enters our world bringing peace, love, joy and hope. And so, we wait for Emmanuel, “God is with us!”