The words above are from one of my favorite stories in the Jesus Storybook Bible, “Operation, ‘No More Tears!’” (a paraphrase of Isaiah 9, 11, 40, 50 53, 55, 60). It’s a letter written from God to his people promising that he will send a hero-shepherd to love them and bring them home. It’s a letter full of love and hope.
This week is the first week of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas and the beginning of a new year on the church calendar. I think it is interesting and meaningful that the church year begins with a whole season of waiting - built in time before the big exciting thing happens. Time to anticipate. Time to ponder. Time to just be in the “not yet.”
To wait for something means a lot of things. One thing this Advent season has me thinking about is that waiting requires acknowledging our need or want of something that is not true - yet. Our world needs a God that comes to us with great big love. Each of us need’s Christ to fill up our hearts with the light of his love. This world of humans and planets, creatures and creation, is not yet what it could be. Each of us can be love even better than we are now. We need a hero-shepherd to help us. By observing Advent we acknowledge that we are waiting to be made whole. We admit to ourselves, to each other, and to God that we need God to come and live with us. We need Jesus.
And so this is where we begin. Not with the great rescue plan put in action, but by acknowledging that we need rescuing. And thankfully, this waiting is not tinged with the anxiety that God might not send love. God has promised, so we wait with hope. Jesus, our hero-shepherd, is on his way.
“Look for him. Watch for him. Wait for Him. He will come! I promise.”