Sunday, December 02, 2012

I Was Hoping For More...

I've felt this strange compulsion to blog during Advent this year. I ignored it, figuring the urge would pass.  But here I am in the final hours of Day 1, figuring out what to say.

I'll start with a confession:

For several years now, I've hated Advent. There's nothing like the holidays to highlight the gap between where you are in life and where you'd hoped to be.

As some of you know, this has been a particularly wild year for us, as we've become foster parents to a little girl.  She is wonderful. The system is not.  And so the gap we're facing now isn't even a stretch  between what we'd hoped for and what is.  It's just a giant hole labeled, "We have no idea how this is going to turn out."  (Who knew our lives could get LESS suitable for inclusion in a holiday card?)

Now, I handle this gap pretty well for most of the year.  But when my faith tells me this is the season to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus because he came to save the world and make everything right (I remember one sermon that insisted, without caveat, "EVERYTHING YOU'VE EVER WANTED IS FOUND IN THE BIRTH OF JESUS!"), the analytical side of me kicks in and asks, Really? Because I've read the book, and what happens is that in thirty-three years he gets murdered, then comes back to life and ascends into heaven, after which we spend the next two thousand  years trying to figure out what to make of it all.  It's a fabulous story, but I've been unable to see how Jesus' birthday gives me everything I've ever wanted today. (In fact, isn't that the experience most of us have with Christmas? That once all the presents are opened, it's all very nice...but somehow we'd hoped for more?)

BUT...even as this year has been particularly difficult, we've seen God working. Everywhere.  It's no exaggeration to say that in the midst of this sea of impossibility, we are astonished on a regular basis.

Because of this, I realized that I don't want to slink through Advent this year.  I've had enough of the tight-lipped smile, pretending everything is okay. So when I went to church this morning, I didn't cringe when I saw the Advent wreath.  Instead, I asked God for a new way to see this season.  And wow, did He come through.

The pastor said this about his life:  "I am so incredibly blessed...and yet I'd hoped for more." He went on to say that this tension between the blessings we have and the disappointment we feel is our human condition.  No matter what is going on, there is always more we'd hoped for.  In some seasons, this tension is more unbearable than others. But the feeling is consistent. He talked about how the message of Advent isn't "Hooray, Jesus has come! Everything will be fine now!"  But rather, "The rescue is underway...and Jesus is coming back to complete it." (Here's a link to the full sermon.)

That is something I can celebrate.

So I'll be doing a little of that here each day, sharing thoughts about living in this tension between what I hope for and what is, looking for what God is doing and anticipating the rescue.  I hope you'll join me. We'll see what God does.


Breeza said...

Glad to see your blog pop back up. Congrats on the fostering! So great!

Sarakastic said...

Can't wait to see what God has in store next. I feel much the same about my own life right now even though it's an entirely different situation.

Quinn said...

What a sweet little picture! Glad to hear what's going on.

Elizabeth@LongToLove said...

So glad to hear from you! Excited for your Advent posts! xoxo

Trish Ryan said...

By way of clarification, the photo is not our foster daughter, but some other adorable little girl.

Barbara Nelson said...

BRILLIANT!! Thank you!
I needed your words to express how I am feeling this week! and I love the 12/3 post too. Brilliant!