The last candle is lit. The sanctuary waits. Babies coo and papers shuffle. Distant coughing and soft murmurs are the subtle sounds which usher in this final anticipation. Just a moment more; a moment more; a moment more.
Advent. Oh! How I want to wait always this way! For all that matters, when life hurts, when I am exhausted and hurried and lonely and thin. Oh, that I might wait this way.
Redemption is coming. Running. Risking. Ripping through the darkness to reclaim us – even us – as his own.
But we – his own – did not receive him.
Still, his coming is imminent. He has chosen rescue in the place of revenge.
Rescue. Do we even know our need? Nothing short of war awaits and we are all hostages in line for execution. There is no hope lest this baby be far better than we.
The pianist begins.
And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow,
Look now! For glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing!
Advent is over. The Savior is here. He is here. God is with us. May the sanctuary of our hearts be filled in the midst of the melancholy, the mundane, and the miseries as we wait for him to come again.
“Olives fail. People fail. Dreams fail. You feel like you fail. A thousand things mount. Some days it’s hard not to panic. You can feel it – we are driven by fear of failure. For all our frenzied running around, could it be that we are actually fleeing – trying to escape all the fears? All this pain? All this failure? We all live these lives of quiet terror. OF soundless, hidden grief. You could just bow your head id the quiet and weep for all that isn’t. For all that you aren’t.
In the barrenness of winter, Habakkuk offers this gift to always carry close: rejoicing in the Lord happens while we still struggle in the now.
Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other.
As the cold can move you deeper toward the fire, struggling can move you deeper toward God, who warms you with joy. Struggling can deepen joy.
Even though the fig trees have not blossoms and though the Christmas tree aches a bit empty, even though there are no grapes on the vine and no struggle-free days, even though the olive crop fails, even though I fail, even though so much fails- even now I will rejoice in the Lord.
Even now I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.
Even though, even now – Habakkuk turns the focus. The secret of joy is always a matter of focus: a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fears. All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. When does He ever end? When you can’t touch bottom is when you touch the depths of God.” ~Ann Voskamp