From Thanksgiving to Waiting

We’re moving from Thanksgiving to Advent.

Thanksgiving 2013
Thanksgiving 2013

From golden harvest,

wpid-elizaautumn.jpgand crisp clarity during walks in the woods,


and the delight of the gifts of children receiving the gifts of creation,


to the frosty season of waiting, of longing, of chills and heartache and dead car batteries.


It’s also the time for hope and pushing on and stoking the fire while the frost covers everything.


When God writes trials into our story, he’s writing the stuff that makes true characters.

This is as true now as it was when he wrote his Son into the Book in human form. As we remember, wait, and watch for the coming Jesus, we watch the perfect protagonist, the spoken Word, withstand every weakness of flesh and do the unexpected–reveal God’s glory in his own face.

Every trial and temptation showed the metal he was made of–perfectly pure.  They show our worth as well. When we’re whipped around by heartbreaking family realities and burdens and the unknown, God is giving us a window, a peek, at our own souls–which is significant because we’re so often deceived about ourselves, about our strength.

Mary says in her Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

What most of us would see as a trial–Mary’s unwed pregnancy–she recognized as a blessing and she overflowed in worship. She had been looked on by God. He saw her and her humble estate.

Every believer in Jesus can say the same thing. He has looked on us. He has seen our humble estate, our spiritual poverty. And the gaze of God on us is only a comfort if our estate is humble. A proud heart can’t feel solace in a holy God. But when I fear God, he gently leads me.

This advent I will remember that God has looked on me. He’s looking down on our little family, and he has in mind for us something more than the tragic fools or embittered malcontents of the narrative. He’s shaping disciples; he’s molding faithfulness. He’s telling his story and by his grace, our parts are good ones.

The Advent of the Son and the Spirit

Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby, in the winter of our lives. He came to us while we were yet sinners. He came to those who are sick and needing a doctor. He came for the moms needing a shower, bodies spent, and hearts in knots for their children. He was waited for and waited for, and then Zachariah held him in his arms; he came.


Jesus coming and dying and living again began another advent: the advent of the Spirit of God, who lives with us and comforts us in all our affliction and guides us in all our ways. The Spirit who gives peace in the face of war, who gives meekness in the face of slander, who gives a gentle answer in the face of human wrath. Yes, the Spirit is so dear and so close–and it is the Spirit of Jesus Himself.

For Jesus was sent by God and utters the words of God and Jesus gives the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). Jesus isn’t meting out the Spirit. “Here’s your daily allowance, daughter, two cups and no more–so you better have an average sort of day, nothing requiring too much help.” No! He just gives and gives. He doesn’t keep track.

Comfort without measure, guidance without measure, peace without measure.

That’s our God–so unlike my natural tendency to keep all amounts in check, everything in moderation. We don’t want too much of a good thing and I also don’t want to give of myself that way. “I’ve done enough for today, children, my apportioned giving is plum given out!” But not my God. My God is a lavish and generous God. He gives of Himself without measure. And as He gives of Himself He enables me to pour out in unmeasured ways to others. That is a miracle of the Spirit. Praise His Name.


So as I remember the Advent of the Son, my salvation, Jesus, I also remember the Advent of the Spirit, my comfort and counselor, who Jesus gives to me without measure, gusting winds of life that no one sees, and yet there I am, suspended in air by the strength and miracle of the Spirit.

the final wait

We have entered the last week of advent. We remember the wait for the birth of baby Jesus.

We remember the waiting that has already been consummated. It has been completed: Jesus did come. Yet we remember and reenact it. But we do not wonder what it’s like to really wait, as though it’s a reenacting apart from our present circumstance that we merely remember. We have our own waiting to do.

For ours is the final wait. We wait for the end, the returning, the perfecting, the new heavens and new earth. Or we wait for our own end that will take us to an early glory. Yes, we are familiar with waiting. Perhaps we are less familiar with the arriving. The actual completion of things waited for. So, we practice the completion at Christmas. We remember that the Messiah, long awaited for, finally did come. And so, we take heart in ours, the final wait.

“8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8,9

Thank you, Lord, for the waiting.