Sunday, November 30, 2008

Watch Out

"What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!" Mark 13:37

I have missed several days writing here because I was surrounded by family and wanted most of all to be with them. Yesterday, when I woke up I had a terrible headache and my stomach was volatile. I tried to get up and be with the gang but for all my effort, it was nearly impossible to lift my head or move without pain. The last thing I wanted to be was sick while my daughters were home and we were able to be together as a family. No one had to go to work or be occupied elsewhere. And yet, there I was felled by a stomach bug, stuck in the house, feeling frustrated and guilty when I wasn't sleeping. Today, feeling much better, I still feel the loss of a day that I cannot get back. Wishing and hoping won't make it come back. So, I only hope I can find another day, another way for all of us to be together, enjoying each other, since being with them is of singular importance in my life. I don't want to wait for another time for us to be together, but I will cherish and make the most of today.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, the season where we watch and wait and prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ as a child in Bethlehem and in a new way in our lives. This is a season where things we don't expect change our lives completely. This is the season where the earth shifts, where the cold bears down, when the sun struggles to rise and we wait with expectation for a new beginning. I hate to be told to wait. I don't like being told to be patient and I personally would rather know what is coming than be surprised.

In this season, we are challenged to wait as God works to bring new life and promise into our world. We are asked to be patient when we are so used to having information in an instant. And yet, there is also something incredibly holy about the process of waiting. When I was carrying each of our three daughters, I remember being so impatient at first, and then enjoying each day as I woke to find new growth, new movement, new signs of life. They were worth every minute of the waiting, whether I liked the waiting or not. And that gave it a holy sense, this waiting which was beyond my control and my limitations. What God created was nothing short of a miracle in each one, and nothing I could have made with my own hands and my own impatient self.

Today, I want to begin this season of Advent by offering my impatience and this season to God. I want to watch and wait, to watch out for signs of new life and declare them when I see them. I want to open my heart as I wait, I want to break loose of control and open to God's spirit. It is hard and scary for me to wait, but everything in my life that is holy and miraculous came in its own time, in God's time and completely more wonderful than I could have imagined. May we all live courageously open to God in this season. May we wait for love to knock us over, fill us to the brim and make holy and new that which has laid broken and shattered. May this Advent begin with us offering the days to God, letting go of control, and waiting for love to break through all the dark places.

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