Seasons of Waiting

When the lights go out

Each year the season of Advent takes me by surprise. Instead of coming on with a shout, a “look at me, look at me,” Advent comes with a whisper.

It comes as I am busy with other things and whispers “Pay attention, I’m here.” It comes with cold weather and crowded sidewalks, it comes with humility and insistence. When my children were little I knew it would be hard so I paid closer attention. I was determined that we would feel the light of Advent in the midst of tinsel and baubles.

But now that they are older and away from the house I realize it is still difficult. Still difficult to cultivate an attitude of expectant waiting.

As I was thinking about Advent, about seasons of waiting, I thought back to my pregnancies. Five times on three continents I went through the process of pregnancy and birth. And in all five I knew there was something coming. Something life changing and amazing. Something that would require strength, love, discipline, and grace. From the time I first saw a light blue line appear on a plastic stick I knew that the next nine months would bring about change, both expected and unexpected. Sometimes that big event came during a busy day, requiring me to stop everything I was doing and all I had planned, other times it came through a painful whisper in the night. And each time was a miracle – a miracle of tiny fingers and toes, little legs kicking out into a world unknown, a lusty cry appeased only by the touch of a mom.

This expectant waiting that I felt during pregnancy is like this season of Advent, a season where I remember another birth, a birth that changed our world.

I am waiting on many things this year. Waiting that sometimes causes anxiety and a hurting heart. I am waiting on things that do not have a natural end point as a pregnancy does, waiting on things that may not be realized any time soon. It is this I think about as I enter this season of Advent.

That first Advent was long ago – after years and years of silence. The lights were out and the world felt cold and dark, void of hope. Yet there were still whispers of a ‘coming’. There were still those who believed and waited and prayed. Into this came not a ruler or king, but a tiny baby who needed his mom. Yet that tiny baby was worth the wait, was worth the silence. So I remember this during this season of waiting. And I pray my anxious heart will remember that time so long ago when the world watched and waited with expectant hope. 

What about you? Are you watching and waiting for something with expectant hope? With fear and anxiety? I would love it if you shared some of your heart through the comments. 

7 thoughts on “Seasons of Waiting

  1. I have never considered doing anything about Advent until this year. Christmas was always a happy time for me anyway, so I never thought to question the way I’d always done it. But this year, I am looking for, expecting, waiting for, PEACE. After a series of events over the last 4 months that have left me tired, worn out, feeling down about my life, and starting to disengage, I know I need a change, a break, a slowing down. And so I am going to try to do that. The kids extra curricular activities break this month, and I’m not adding anything else to the social calendar.

    I’m going to try to follow Amy Grant’s lead. I once heard her say in an interview that she has to dedicate one night to herself during this season. That she will sit by the tree with her guitar and play and sing Christmas carols, all by herself, and focus on the “reason for the season,” to be cliché. I think I need that. I LOVE Christmas music. I’m even going to try to set apart a couple hours to just listen to the entire Messiah, which I love and really miss.

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    1. I love the idea of a couple of hours spent in soul care at least every week during this season. Hard to do but necessary. Thanks for sharing your heart’s desire for peace. I so get it. Thinking of you today.

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  2. “Waiting on things that do not have a natural end point”.. yes, that’s hard. Thanks for this beautiful post.
    Today I looked at the bare winter trees (in cold windy England) and they seemed to be a picture of our pared-down church community this Advent in particular. Like the trees we’re reaching upwards with empty branches, a bit forlorn and windswept, sad at the loss of summer leaves, knowing there’s a rhythm to this and that new life will come in its season – knowing it will be beautiful but also that there could be a long wait; waiting for the glory of Christmas and beyond that for a new season of fruitfulness.

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    1. Thank you for this picture into your world Fiona! And so true that there is a rhythm to all of this – empty and forlorn trees in winter yield beautiful blossoms and leaves in their season.

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  3. Thank you for an amazing post. We wait here for the end to a hard struggle or at least some relief. We wait to feel a sense of belonging in a place we still are adjusting to. We wait for what we know is coming but don’t know how long. We wait tired and lonely. We long for His presence to break through and it’s hard. But there is a strange holy in the wait. And it comforts to know others wait as well.

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