I planted tulip bulbs, just last week. It was a crazy, just-warm-enough, day. I brushed aside the fallen leaves and dug holes for them, the little brown, gnarly looking bundles of life. I marveled at the thought of covering them up, patting down the dirt and then waiting with expectation. I whispered to the wind, “This God we love is wildly creative, to speak into order a rhythm of life.” The wonder of flowers that will struggle to break the earth after sitting in the dark, frozen ground for so many months.
It’s cold now. The winter winds have begun to push in and all there is to show for my work of digging and planting is a few beds of dirt. And so I wait. And while it may seem foolish if you didn’t know the nature of living things, I will wait expectantly. Because no matter what it looks like, there is life in those bulbs and when winter has decided to concede to Springs gentler hand, I know there will be broken ground. They will soak up all the moisture from the dark days of snow, and they will move to the light. And although we won’t hear it, there will be a great groaning, a cracking open to reveal new life. Red and white petals will unfurl with the kiss of the sun. I have hope.
This morning, I watched the wind cover the newly dug beds with rusting Autumn leaves. All this thinking about waiting and hope has reminded me, it’s almost time for Advent. God came. He came into our broken world with love, and a plan. There needed to be a new order in the rhythm of our lives. No more death, new life! It would begin with a baby’s cry and end with an empty tomb.
Advent isn’t just for remembering. He came. Emmanuel, God with us. And he keeps coming. He comes again and again for all the broken, covered-over places in us that look hopeless. He reminds us we are his. No matter what it looks like, his life is in us, by his design. He comes to call us out of the dark and into the light of his grace, mercy and love.
And He knows.
He knows there has been and will be groaning and breaking open. And he’s right there, Emmanuel. He knows our design and all the things that stand in the way of being what he created us to be.
And so He comes to enter in.
When we receive Him into our anxious waiting, we become people of Hope.
When we receive Him into our unrest and chaos, we find the gift of Peace.
When we receive Him into our sadness, sorrow and grief, we discover the beauty of Joy, right where we are.
When we receive Him into all the places in us that are un-loved, we begin to experience extravagant, unconditional Love.
Because He came, because of love, we can know the freedom of living unfurled as we were created to be, moving to the rhythm of his heartbeat.
Can we begin our Advent journey with Thanks? Deep gratitude for the one who came, who continues to come and never leaves. Thankful, for all we have, and all we are in Him. And when we step out this Sunday to begin walking to Bethlehem, can we hear the call of the creator and let our footfalls echo his praise?