I feel myself to be in a middle place, a place of waiting. It’s uncomfortable, like there’s the tiniest pebble in the bottom of my shoe and I can’t quite manage to shake it out. There is both a restlessness and a stirring.
We are, of course, in the season of advent in which we wait, and prepare our hearts in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some have rituals: lighting a candle each week, or reading a passage of scripture or devotion each day. In the tradition I followed for most of my adult life, advent was not observed formally at all, aside from chocolates hidden behind cardboard windows.
But advent works its way into our heart.
The dark invites times of quiet reflection, and a return to stillness. Lights on trees invite us to remember the Light who came into the world one dark and starry night, the one we are waiting upon, the one who will come again.
Advent is about seeking, and switching our mindset from gratitude for a multitude of gifts, to adoration of the Giver of the sweetest ones. It’s leaning in and listening, sitting still and being present. It’s deep calling unto deep. It’s the sweetest of mysteries.
Sometimes, we feel as if there isn’t enough time to get it all done, then we realize that the most important work has already been accomplished, and so we rest. Sometimes we struggle, time drags, and this month is just one long and hard one to get through. We remember that love came down, and that God isn’t constrained by time. We don’t have to understand it in order to celebrate it.
We embrace the season of waiting, and we keep waiting, long after this dark month in which we celebrate the coming of the Light is over. The pilgrim walk in which, as Frederick Buechner says, we get “messed up in a million ways”, is meant to chafe a bit. The irritation in our shoes reminds us that we are simply passing through. We are not home yet.
And so, we draw away from the endless din and lean softly in to the Divine. We learn to rest in this middle place. We choose not to let the cacophony distract us from the important work of waiting. We sit still, we grow silent, and, in awe, we wait.
Linda Hoye is on the other side of a twenty-five-year corporate career. Now a writer, photographer, gardener, and somewhat-fanatical grandma, she lives in Kamloops, British Columbia with her husband and their doted-upon Yorkshire Terrier. Find her online at www.lindahoye.com.
Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life