A real-life story of a boy and Christmas from Ben Houchen, a shepherd and my best bud since middle school.
Nikki took Cynnan to the Surgeon today and had the pre-op consultation. Everything went well with that and the Doc said he would have time to do the surgery tomorrow. This got us excited, but as the day wore on and we got no confirmation of a Tuesday surgery we started to have doubts about our excitement. Sure enough, at around 5pm tonight we got the call to confirm the surgery time. Thi
s Thursday at 5pm.
AAAHHHHHHH, I hate all this waiting. I just hate it. And yet, the reality is, this is the season of waiting.
Advent is a season filled with waiting, with anticipation. And because we so closely associate the Advent season with the Birth of Christ and that picture of a baby in a manger, it is tempting for us to think that the spirit of Advent is a purely joyous one. But think for a moment about the people of Israel, at the time of the Birth of Christ.
Times for these people were not good. Israel was held under Roman occupation, and while this was better than the many exiles Israel had experienced prior to this point, it was by no means a good experience. The Romans knew how to subdue a people, and while they allowed Israel to worship her God, they also demanded taxes (an ancient form of worship) be paid to Creaser, and they subjected the people to many humiliating and dehumanizing practices. The people were waiting, but they had no certain hope of what they waited for, or how long they would have to wait to get it. We see evidence of how hopeless and unresponsive the people of Israel had become in the Gospel of Matthew. Just look at who all notices the birth of the messiah, The Maji and King Herod are the first people of any notoriety to even care that this child had been born. No one in the Jewish Community takes any notice of this boy until he is old enough to amaze them during a visit to the Temple. People were losing, or had lost hope. The waiting, it seems, was just too much for many of them to bear.
Advent is a joyous time for us because we are looking backward on a time of anticipation. We know the ending, we see the story, not as it is unfolding, but as it did. The concept, the spirit of advent then, is not one of purely joyous expectation. Advent includes a spirit of anticipation that is laced with negative emotions as well; fear, worry, even hopelessness, these are all part of the spirit of the Advent season. And it is important to realize that, because our understanding of those portions of the Advent season gives us the grace and peace to handle the Advent’s of our own present lives. I once read that Advent is essentially about learning to wait. It is about not needing to know the precise details of what is coming, only that, whatever it is, it is of the essence of sanctification for us. Every piece of it, some hard, some uplifting, signifies the work of God alive in us. We learn in Advent to stay in the present, knowing that only the present, well lived, can possibly lead us to the fullness of life. You see, as humans, we are not complete, we do not arrive, no, we are becoming as we go. Our lives are not meant to be escaped, or avoided. Life is meant to be perused, to be excavated, We are meant to taste and to touch and feel all that there is in life, the good alongside the bad. All of these things are then meant to culminate in our lives in a way that we come to know that the God who created us is with us still. Unto us a child is born, unto us a hope is given, not a hope of ease and indulgence, but of life, life to the fullest!
Would you like to enter into that full life with me? Then please, pull up a chair, wait with me a while.
We will become as we go.
You can read more about Cynnan’s story and how God is using a son to draw his parents nearer to Him.