One thing I’ve learned on the road towing my travel trailer is to slow down. Savor the moment and the experience. Don’t rush toward a goal so that you miss the small delights and surprises you find along the way.
As we barrel ahead into Advent, already Christmas seems to have overtaken us. Like the swoosh of a truck passing in the left lane, streamers of tinsel, snippets of holiday songs, and shopping deals seem to pick us up and carry us along.
Wait and be still.
Advent songs like “O Come Divine Messiah,” “On Jordan’s Bank,” “People Look East,” “My Soul in Stillness Waits,” or “A Voice Cries Out” just don’t have the same popularity as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Away in a Manger,” or “Silent Night” — much less that of “Jingle Bells,” “Santa Baby,” or “Last Christmas.” Why the short shrift given to a season of expectation?
Is it cultural? We like to do more than to be. We seek accomplishments – presents purchased and wrapped, cookies baked, cards sent. Meditation before a candle in a silent church or by a cold and starry campfire doesn’t quite measure up the same way.
Likewise, fundraising for a good cause or filling up the wish lists hanging on a barren tree in church are concrete and realizable indicia of charity, not unseen prayers for those around us, the lonely, and the lost. Certainly, physical needs must be met to meet spiritual needs. Witness the Lord feeding the crowds with multiplied loaves and fishes. But it is both/and, not either/or.
In part the answer may be that Advent looks beyond the birth of Christ to His Second Coming. This is a disturbing prospect for many. The baby in the manger gives way to the King coming in all His glory. For believers, this prospect fills us with joy but also fear of the Lord. We will be judged at the end of time, at the Second Coming. Yet our God is a God of mercy. God who made the universe, the complexities of physics, the delicacy of a fern sprouting in spring, the majesty of lightening exploding over stormy seas – it is He who comes to be with us, as a baby, as true food, as a healer, as a preacher, as our salvation hanging bloody on the cross. How much He loves us. It is beyond comprehension and calls for trust. What rewards lie in that trust!
So, in this season of expectation remember to trust Him and to look forward not just to His birth but to His return. He will come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead, and there will be no end to the Kingdom of Peace and Love that He brings. This Advent season is precious in being set aside to contemplate the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament revelations and Words of the Lord about our future with Him.
Meanwhile, as we wait in silent expectation, I’m recalling past Advents. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, due near Christmas. Every discomfort or kick made me think of Mary in her ninth month of pregnancy, anticipating the birth of a child who is the Savior of the world. Did Mary wonder how she would be a good mother or did she simply trust that God would provide whatever she needed? And, Joseph too, as Jesus’ foster father, was making plans that probably included a handcrafted crib for the holy baby. Surely, Mary and Joseph made their home secure and welcoming for Him, not realizing His plan would have His birth be in the most meager of circumstances in Bethlehem.
With this Advent frame of mind, let us – like Joseph and Mary – place everything in God’s hands. As I review the start of my fourth year of full time Airstreaming, I thank God for his goodness and trust His plans for the future. God continues to call me to go to places I never expected, both spiritually and in my travel trailer. In this Advent season of expectation, I’m taking more time to read and reflect on Scripture, to pray for those I meet and those I’ve met, and to find peaceful moments even when traveling busy highways.
May God bless you and keep you and your families as we joyfully sing “O Come Divine Messiah!”