Advent is the season of longing.
Nights are long, days are short. We long for the light to return.
We scurry through presents and parties, yearning for peace.
We look at the last crumpled page on the calendar and hunger for the new year’s promise.
We feel the aching in our souls and cry out to be filled.
Eve was the first one to feel it. Do you think she lay awake some nights, replaying that moment she reached for the fruit? If only she hadn’t reached for it. If only she hadn’t listened to the serpent. If only she hadn’t gone close to the tree that day. If only. The seeds of sin birthed the bitter fruit of rebellion and exile, but the Creator hadn’t left her without hope. Her seed–her offspring– would crush the serpent’s head. How she wanted to see that day. Maybe then she could take her husband and family and go back to the garden. The Tree of Life was still there, and she longed to taste its fruit.
Sarah knew the longing–the longing of empty arms that yearn to be full. She had one job-one job–to birth babies for her husband. God’s promise of descendants as numerous as the stars sounded like mocking to her ears. God promised, but days turned into years and her womb stayed empty. Yet there was that promise–that one kernel of hope that ached within her soul–and she longed for it to be fulfilled.
Isaiah longed for the story’s completion. God gave him glimpses of his plan, one puzzle piece at a time. Immanuel, God with us, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The one who would cure our sin-sickness, one who would bear out griefs and be pierced through for our transgressions. He puzzled over it sometimes, trying to make the pieces fit. A child born of a virgin who would die for the sins of the people. One who would somehow in himself become the sacrifice for our sin, who made himself the offering and still saw his days prolonged and his kingdom unshaken. A king, a suffering servant, life conquering death–he didn’t understand it. But he believed it, and he longed to see the day.
Advent is the season when we long for God’s promise to be fulfilled. We remember the night the darkness was shattered with a baby’s cry, and we long for the day he returns to take up his rightful throne. We remember a night when shepherds worshipped and angels sang, and we long for the world to know there is good news of great joy for each and every one. We remember the day the serpent’s head was crushed with a cross, and we point to a great throng from every tribe and tongue and whisper, Mother Sarah, these are your children. We read Isaiah’s scroll next to the gospels and marvel at how the pieces fit–and yearn for the day the lion finally lies down with the lamb.
This Advent season, let yourself feel the longing. Don’t squelch it; don’t drown it. Experience it. All creation groans for the day of redemption–join in the cry of longing.
And remember that all longings are satisfied in Him.
What do you long for this Advent season?
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