Advent Isn't Something to Microwave
I think it all began with microwave cooking. But I could be wrong. Maybe “waiting” was an issue for society before the invention of the microwave for home use. I was a teenager when I came home one day to find this new miracle oven in my home. My mother explained what we could do with the microwave and how much faster and easier meal-making would be. I don’t think I’ve known a day of my life without a microwave since. And thus began the slippery slope toward a life of instantaneous gratification. So now, many years later, I (like most of the world) am quite accustomed to having almost anything at my fingertips immediately… email, instant messaging, same-day delivery, even video calling means I don’t have to wait to “see” someone. But just as not everything tastes best when microwaved, some things are better savored in the waiting. Advent isn’t something you microwave. Waiting is part of the intentional process of the season. Advent is a season for waiting.
For most of us, waiting is a problem. We look for the shortest line at the grocery store, the gas station, and in traffic. When a restaurant doesn’t take reservations, we call ahead to get “’in line” before going. We get frustrated when a page on the internet takes too long to load. We are conditioned to receive instantaneous results.
So, here is a thought for you…
In this first week of the Advent season, consider that the Lord is inviting you to quiet your soul to know what cannot be known apart from waiting in His presence.
Advent is a season of preparing for the celebration of Christmas. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. The term Advent is derived from a Latin word (adventus) which means both “coming” and “arrival” and references three important events for every Christian: 1) the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, 2) that Jesus comes and resides in every believer through the Holy Spirit, and 3) the anticipation of the second coming of Christ.
In the season of Advent, we are invited to wait, yearn, anticipate, and hope as we let God use this season to shape the ways we experience Him and incarnate His love as we serve others.
These past two years, in all that we have been through in our world, in our nation, even in our own communities and our families, I especially think of what it must have been like for those who waited and longed for the prophesied Messiah to come. Isaiah, who gave us the most comprehensive prophetic depiction of the Messiah, lived about 700 years before Jesus was born. So, for those who were waiting for the Promised One, it was a very long wait. And it was a dark wait, as well. The people endured the darkness of despair, sin, misery, evil – and they lived deeply within it. Yet, they remembered God’s faithfulness… and so they continued to wait.
As we observe Advent, we identify with those who waited for the first coming of the Messiah. We worship as we wait - giving praise and thanksgiving for the birth of the Christ child. As we wait, we yearn for Him to invade our lives and change us. We look forward with hope to that Day when He will come again.
Advent is a journey, and in this leg of the journey – this first week of Advent – I invite you to resist the need to speed through the season. Take a deep breath and be content to hold what “is” about your life in the presence of Christ. Release your need to push aside what feels unsettled, to numb the gnawing pains that eat at your soul, and to attempt to control things that are out of your control anyway.
This week, take the opportunity to slow down and surrender the dark places of your life as you seek the light of Christ. As you wait in the light of His presence, you get a clearer image of who He is and of who you are in Him. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 ESV)
How do we wait? We wait wisely.
How do we respond to Him? With the intent to obey.
Where do we look for Him? In unlikely places.
Below are some questions and scriptures to use for your own personal Advent meditations.
1. Waiting. What thoughts and emotions does that word stir up in you?
2. Scripture Meditation – go through the following steps as you meditate on the Word
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)
• Silence – quiet your mind and body, notice God’s presence with you.
• Listen – give your attention to the Scripture passage. Savor the words or phrases that stand out to you.
• Meditate – where does the word/phrase connect with your life right now?
• Respond – has the Lord addressed you in this passage? Allow the Scripture to lead you in response to Him.
• Contemplate – rest in God’s presence and receive His Word.
3. Song – Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Shane & Shane)
• Prayerfully listen to the song
• Reflect on what you hear
• Respond to the Lord
• Rest and simply enjoy being in the presence of the Lord
4. Resist the need to speed through the season. Take a deep breath and be content to hold what “is” about your life in the presence of Christ.
• Name what feels unsettled
• Notice what is painful and invite the Lord to be with you in it
• Release attempting to control what is out of your control
Please leave a comment below - I'd love to hear your thoughts.
There are wonderful books available for daily devotions through the Advent season. Here are two of my favorites:
The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp
Shadow and Light, Tsh Oxenreider
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