As the first week of Advent draws to a close, I find myself not in the place I would like to be. I am distracted, anxious, and juggling a list of to-dos and expectations that needs whittling. Why does this feel so familiar?
My fallback excuse for the last month has been to blame Hurricane Sandy every time I feel fragmented or overwhelmed. But that excuse is wearing thin. Thus, the beauty of the Advent—a season filled with longing, hope, pain, joy, and suffering. My mixed bag of emotions and expectations is the perfect classroom, teaching me to wait and to yearn for something bigger than myself. I need the Incarnate God to touch me in my everyday life with His presence. Otherwise, I am left running in circles, frantically trying to create holiday cheer and a false sense of control over my life.
So I hold fast to the words of Jeremiah 31:1-3, which provide comfort and a promise this Advent season.
“In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. This is what the Lord says:
“Those who survive the coming destruction
will find blessings even in the barren land,
for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”
What a comfort to know that in my “barren land” of distractions and expectations, God promises rest. Even more amazing, is the promise of God’s love—not a temperamental or soon-to-expire-sort-of-love, but an unfailing, everlasting love. Good news, indeed, as we walk through this Advent season!