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  • Writer's pictureGail Edmonson

Advent - A Deeper Longing

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

I received some hard news this past year. A difficult diagnosis. A sobering reality. As I sat enjoying a beautiful time outdoors with a few of my beloved family members over the weekend, I was aware of both my abundant joy and my profound sadness. I could barely grasp an understanding of the tears that began to flow and the mixture of emotions I was feeling. I felt happiness for the sweet time we had together. Yet, the reality of brokenness was also on full display in the midst of the festivity.

I was filled with joy in that moment and yet I was aware of heartbreaking pain and loss. The tears that spilled over and the sobs I tried to subdue were an expression of both. They were the realization of my deeper longings. The fulfillment of a longing to experience life in community - something that seems a little rarer in the escalating pandemic, as well as a longing for more than the reality of the suffering simultaneously present with us in the moment.

Later, I thought more about what I had experienced and wondered, “Lord, why did those emotions show up?” What is it you want me to see? About You? About myself? As I seek you in this season of Advent, what is your greater purpose in joy and in pain?”

I thought about the two words the Lord has drawn me to over and over again in this Advent season: waiting and longing. Last week, the Lord spoke with me about waiting and offered a question for me to ponder, “What will I miss if I am not willing to wait?” For me, waiting often means “sitting with” something. Whether it is a line at the grocery store, a question that comes to mind, a feeling I experience, or a thought that comes to my conscience, waiting opens up an opportunity to be present in the moment.

I wondered, what do I need to understand about longing as it relates to waiting? What I realized is when I am willing to wait with the Lord, I become more present to my deeper longings.

The tearful experience I had over the weekend revealed my profound yearning for the kingdom of God. It revealed my longing for wholeness - in myself and for others. In the coming days, as I continue to press into waiting, I will do so with the intent of being present to the deeper longings the Spirit of God awakens within me.

As I consider the season of Advent, I am reminded of three things - that I am preparing my heart to celebrate the birth of Messiah, that I am awake to my longing for His second coming, and that I am daily in need of His transforming presence.

My prayer for and encouragement to you is to sit with the longings the Lord stirs within. Name those longings in His presence and be willing to be present with them as you pray for greater understanding of His ways and purposes.

May He reveal your deepest longings as you wait with Him in this season of Advent.

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:4-5 ESV


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Through the Unexpected Grace Blog I offer encouragement to help you engage deeply with Father, Son, and Spirit. I do this by posting some of what I am learning, along with resources for your journey - such as prayer practices, articles, books, workshops, and retreats.


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