Our daughter is expecting again. This will be their third baby, and our household is excited, even though the birth will not be until May. She is tired. She is always hungry. We try to do activities with the little children, so that she can rest. We buy, cook, and bring home lots of food, and it is gobbled up minutes after it hits the table.
During Advent, we wait for the birth of Jesus. We wait as the darkness grows and the world gets colder. It can seem like a passive time of waiting for the light, waiting for the warmth, waiting for new life to come into our lives. Waiting can be a little depressing.
When a woman is pregnant, she doesn’t say she is waiting for a child. She is Expecting a child. The members of her family are busy getting ready for the baby. It is a waiting time, but it is a happy time of preparation.
It is like that with us. We need light, new life, new energy, and greater love in our personal lives, and in the world. We need God, and we need Jesus.
This isn’t just a waiting time. The scriptures during Advent are filled with expectant hope, as well as challenge. "A voice cries out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God!" (Isaiah 40: 3) "God’s glory will live in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other." (Psalm 85: 10) "Rejoice always, pray without stopping, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will for God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not suppress the Spirit." (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19).
We have things to do! We are waiting for the light, but we also fight against the darkness. We get ready for God’s arrival by clearing out the roadblocks. We make a place for love by nurturing seeds of goodness.
I remember coming home from high school in the cold darkness of evening. I was happy to come into the warmth and the light – and, I often needed to cook dinner while my mom was at work. I appreciated the warm atmosphere of ‘home,’ and I was expected to add to it, by doing my share.
That’s Advent! It is good, and it is holy. Warmth and light, while we are surrounded by cold and darkness. We know more is coming, and that it will be wonderful! We are invited, expected, and encouraged to help ‘Prepare the way!’