Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Veni veni Emanuel!

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, tranquility, and joy. And judging by the number of ads on the TV, radio, and newspaper, Christmas--ahem, the Holidays--are already here. But Advent is a time of having to wait in darkness for peace and light to come. In Advent, as the days get shorter and the night lengthens toward the solstice, we are still waiting for our consolation (Luke 2:25) and looking forward to our redemption (2:38). "O come, O come, Emmanuel" is our song; "Joy to the world! The Lord is come!" yet awaits the future. Of course, in our place in history the Christ has come, bringing God's nascent kingdom with him. But the fullness of his peace- and righteousness-dealing awaits a day yet to arrive.

This week I have acutely felt this tension. My wife has been quite ill and had lost her voice; the housing search has proven largely unfruitful and still up in the air; the reality of tough, long, lackluster days at school wears on me; and if we don't move in the next week we may be unable to go back up north to our respective family homes for Christmas. It's not that life feels totally out of control, but there are enough nagging challenges, disappointments, and loose ends to feel rattled and insecure. I feel like I'm growing older and more aware of others' lives. Weird.

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee
. (C. Wesley)

On Saturday night as Olivia and I sat in our darkened living room with no lights on, save for a lone candle and the Christmas tree, I pondered all these things. In the midst of the weight, I strangely felt little worry or panic. I wondered instead--even felt sure of--all the ways we would see God's gracious deliverance, goodness, and faithfulness through it all, his bereket. The refrain of God's Word is "Do not fear, only believe" (Mark 5:36). As my pastor reminded us this weekend, life is never out of control; it's simply out of our control. I know that in the end God always comes through--in his own time and on his own agenda and terms, revealing himself to us along the way, so that we might thank and praise him (Psalm 30:11-12). "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (30:5).

So right now, Lord Jesus, we long for you to come and bring your Throne and the Regeneration. It's hard to know we may have to wait how many years?--fifty? sixty? seventy? Yet even now may this hope of your sovereign power and love be our strength and give us peace as we wait for you.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace.
(Psalm 29:10-11)

Veni veni Emanuel!


Halfmom said...

He will provide in His own time and in His own way. He has a reason for leaving you in limbo right now as you look for a home. Especially as you look for a home with a sick wife who is having trouble even caring for herself. Keep sitting in the dark and looking for the light - the real Light! The literal sitting and looking and praying and waiting will be a great comfort for your wife as well.

Andrew said...

Isaiah 50:10-11 (New International Version)

10 Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.

11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.

Halfmom said...

Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.

Ps 97:11 (ESV)
"Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart."

Praying for light and health for you both.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good post, Andrew. Will be praying for you. I love the carols you mention.