This December, I’m going to write a poem and some thoughts for each week of Advent. Candles will be lit in countless churches across the world, and I will try to meditate in some small way on the themes of each week leading up to Christmas:
- The 1st Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope.
- The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace.
- The 3rd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy.
- The 4th Sunday of Advent symbolizes Love.
Advent Poem #1: Hope & Longing
The room is dark and dank
Except for a silver sliver of light
Breaking through the cracked doorway
That separates the unknown and the known
A door opening ever so slightly into eternity
A glimpse of what could be and what will be
Those who are so thirsty for freedom
Will limp their way towards the shining beam
Looking out into the starlit mystery
Of this immeasurable God-made-flesh.
Love incarnate brushes against hardened hearts
Light and beauty echo in ancient song
They have moved out of the room
They are outside now
Oh, the open sky pierces our soul
A deep welling lingers on inside
For the beauty of Love unending
The dream of renewal and redemption
Of now and not yet.
Around this time of year, there is so much longing in our hearts. The days become shorter, darker, and with it our hearts seem to yearn for the long days and warmth and freedom of other seasons. During Christmastime, it’s easy to remember loss or brokenness, because family gatherings and parties and everything else can be a sharp reminder of all that one doesn’t have. For everyone, there is some kind of hole–be it a dead or estranged loved one, or not enough money, or broken family situations, or lack of a significant other, etc, etc…
The holes come into the forefront of our minds during the Holiday season, along with the longing to fill these holes with something. We long for wholeness, healing, love, goodness, truth, beauty.
For me, I’m thinking a lot about the violence of our country, the mass shootings that keep happening, the people who won’t have loved ones at the table this Christmas because of evil. I’m longing for peace. I’m longing for justice. I’m longing for change.
I’m longing for a lot of things.
The beauty of the Christian faith is that longing is okay. Longing is an essential part of being a human. Read the Psalms, read the writers of the New Testament (like Paul), and you will catch a glimpse of this intense longing. This longing for things to be made right. Things to be made new. For Christ to come again, for hearts to be healed, for peace to reign.
O God, you are my God,
and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
my soul is thirsty for you.
[Psalm 63:1 GNT]
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
[Romans 8:19 NLT]
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
[Matthew 5:6 ESV]
I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
[Psalm 143:6 ESV]
Longing is not wrong, because it leads us to place our hope in Christ. Hope in Christ is not wrong. Christ came, a silver of light in a dark world, to give us a glimpse of the eternal that we all hunger for. For a brief, resounding moment, God walked on the face of the earth and showed us what Love is all about. The essence of Christianity has been sifting through the implications of that profound and unending Love ever since. Oh, how beautiful it is. How hopeful. And how deeply we long for Love to play out in this world.
True longing and hope should spur us on to action in making this world a better, more beautiful place. True longing drives us to our knees, seeking God, because it’s only when we truly taste longing that we find the expectant hope of Christ abiding in our hearts. It’s only in the longing that we begin to fight for beauty, truth, love. Through longing, we find hope for this world.
We long for right, we stumble towards the truth, and we hope for good to triumph over evil.
Take a few moments to think about your longings. Longings aren’t wrong. They point us to something deeply embedded inside us. They point us towards eternity. They point us towards hope found only in Christ. They point us towards how we can change the world and be a voice for good.
What are you longing for? What is your hope?