On dark gray days, I’m glad Advent is in winter. Darkness is an Advent theme, as are waiting and longing. These themes resonate with me.
For about a year and a half I’ve been in a season of mid-life struggle. I’ve longed for something more than carpool, grocery runs and helping my kids with their homework. I’ve experienced an ache in my heart for something new–a new passion or purpose to get me out of bed in the morning.
That longing hasn’t been fully satisfied yet.
Mid-life is often a season of waiting, I’ve heard. Waiting for the “what’s next” to unfold. Sue Monk Kidd, in her book When the Heart Waits, likens this season to the cocooning stage of the caterpillar. It must wait in the darkness of the cocoon before it can emerge in its new and beautiful form. Waiting in the darkness, cocooning, is part of the process of transformation.
Of course mid-life isn’t the only season of waiting. A mother of young children may yearn for the day when she can have time to pursue her own interests and passions, or simply sleep and have uninterrupted conversations.
A father may long for the high stress work project to end so he can finally be relieved of the pressure and be more present to his family. Empty nesters may tire of waiting for the ache to go away as they endure the deafening silence of an empty home.
Some churches have a tradition of waiting until Christmas Day to sing the celebratory Christmas carols like Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful. Until then, they keep to the contemplative waiting spirit of Advent by singing songs of waiting, yearning and longing like O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent. I like that.
My 8-year-old son’s favorite Christmas carols have always been the ones in minor keys – We Three Kings, What Child is This, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. He’s always been sensitive to music and I think that even his young, innocent heart intuitively knows that these songs express a deep longing and desire for God. A longing that is not yet completely fulfilled.
Do Advent themes of darkness, waiting and longing resonate with you?
Your words touched my heart….thank you!
Love these thoughts Marta! Last year I was able to do be one of the speakers on an Advent Sunday. I shared a bit about the waiting Joel and I had been doing. At Christmas time the year prior I felt God say to me, in answer to some of my fears & questions, “Wait and see you won’t be disappointed!” I expected this promise to be fulfilled that year at Christmas but it didn’t happen until the next year (last year) when we had our third son, Emmanuel, (who was a total surprise). Now with one more year behind us and the Advent season here once again, I can finally trust God’s work and my heart is much lighter this year. It feels good!
Marta Oti Sears said:
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. 🙂
When I reflect on advent I try and place myself into what was going on in the world during the first advent spoken of in Isaiah 8 and 9. There was darkness and despair, war, conflict and so on. Fast forward 2000 + years in anticipation of the second advent when Jesus Christ will reign as the Mighty Counselor, Prince of Peace whose reign will be forever. That is our hope. Anticipation of the coming one, just as those in the prophet Isaiah’s day.
I’ve been listening to the Messiah a lot this season and the scripture that Handel used in the musical masterpiece is so powerful! I discovered this link explaining the various pieces and why the scripture passages explain what we have….hope!