I chose this (Christmas 2014) picture because it takes me back to the sleepless days & nights of babies in the house…sure we could smile & things look cute, but holy crap were we at our end & tired. I think I was recovering from appendix surgery. Is this how Christmas is? We smile, mix up drinks, & put up lights, but Jesus is about to be born where the donkeys & cattle pee. God chooses to be messy with us. And He chooses us to wait and not just endure, but enjoy the Advent season. A season of waiting.
But I hate waiting. Our culture hates waiting. Our pace of business & commerce doesn’t wait. I have a motor and mind that doesn’t tend to stop unless it runs into a brick wall. This is why advent always stretches me – but this year I feel extra uncomfortable. But ……. that uncomfortable *unknown* and *why can’t I Google my way out of this?* feeling is where God has me and He continues to show me His graces, not just while I wait, but IN the waiting. Three latest examples:
(1) I traveled last week to Texas and although my flights were a mess on the return, I ended up jumping on a flight two hours earlier than expected. Great! But there was miscommunication with where I’d be picked up at MSP (and my friend’s phone battery died) so I waited … for 90 minutes. It felt long and it was. It felt extra frustrating because it was. But it also revealed to me by the end of the night when we reunited how glorious of a friendship I have with this guy … my best man! A friendship that had us saying how frustrated we were, but also “I’m sorry” and “I love you” and me driving away laughing and tearful that I even have a friendship like this in my life
(2) Alicia and I were not communicating well or arguing fair before I left for Texas. I came back and things were still tense … until our daughter woke us up in the middle of the night sick two nights later. This would usually be mind-numbingly annoying as I’ve been down on sleep and have been waiting for *normal* to be normal again, but it took me back … back to zombie mode of early parenting. We were a team again. We pitched in to do what it takes together as we did when she was a baby. (Full disclosure: Alicia always got less sleep than me then). Something was *back to right* with this latest interruption although I still have to wait for normalcy and rest.
(3) Some of you know I’ve been battling 18+ months of pelvis injury and hip misalignment (among other things). It’s been a long road, but things are starting to click again. I’m running four days per week, cross training well, and have had a few 2 hour long runs. Just when I start to feel ready to test the fitness at a race or something, it’s winter. More waiting … waiting for next year. This is the first calendar year I haven’t entered a race for a loooong looooong time. But it’s right. It’s been good. Good in the way broccoli is good for you as a child (or adult!) even when it tastes like bland watered down dirt. This break has been so right for me, I’m learning a lot, and gaining so much as I wait for the next trail / event I tackle in 2023.
For now … I’m waiting for Christmas and wanting it to be oh so slow. He is coming. Immanuel God WITH us! Even when it’s not how we’d write the story, there are particular joys & graces simply because we don’t hold the pen.