Advent: Restless in the Waiting

December 7th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Another mass shooting. More hateful rhetoric from politicians and their supporters. Another Facebook post by the one person who knows all the inflammatory things to say. Of late, I am struggling to remain hopeful. How do we reconcile peace with a violent world? How do we reconcile love with hate? How do we remain hopeful in the midst of great pain and suffering? How do we stand up for justice without looking like assholes? I do not know the answers to these questions, but all the while, my grip on hope slips, slowly but surely.

Advent: a season of expectancy and anticipation, a season of hope, peace, joy, and love. As I reflect on the Advent season, I am reminded that nobody likes to wait, for waiting often feels like a waste of time and energy. We use language that masks our disappointments, but is there a point when we give up on the waiting? I think the awe and reverence of Advent is wonderful, but this year I am not approaching it with the same awe and reverence of the past. Honestly, I would gladly trade all the liturgies, the songs, the candles, and the wreath, all of it, for the "coming" of healing, peace, love, and justice.

I want to be patient but I find myself thinking like the Psalmist in Psalm 13:

"How long will you forget me, Lord? Forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long will I be left to my own wits,
agony filling my heart? Daily?
How long will my enemy keep defeating me?
Look at me! Answer me, Lord my God!

How long Lord? I want to be a "good Christian" and join the festivities with reverence and anticipation, but I cannot. This Advent, my heart of expectancy has been broken. But this brokenness is not forever- my heart will heal. But in the meantime, I refuse to be silenced by the noise of hatred. I refuse to let darkness overcome the light. I refuse to be jaded. I am learning that my woundedness is not a hindrance, but a gift; by our wounds, may we heal others.

There is another side to my struggle this year: could it be that God is waiting on us? When we look at the world and all the pain that surrounds us, what would it look like if we did not simply wait, but take action with full divine confidence? Maybe what the world needs is less "thoughts and prayers" and more conviction to act. This conviction begins in the most inner place and first, and then works its way outward. My hope, then, cannot be controlled by external conflict, but comes from a place of internal calm and peace. May that peace guide me through every moment of every day as I wait.

I offer this prayer in reflection:

Today, I choose to be hopeful, to see things not as they are but how they should be. I choose to embrace my hurts, my anxieties, my doubts, my fears, and my faithlessness to look within for a presence of hope. May love lead me to peace, peace lead me to hope, and hope lead me to act for justice's sake. Amen.

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Source: Elder Care Huffington Post

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