Each night, we gather together around our wreath. Another candle is lit, and we are one step closer to the birth of the Christ-child. The boys watch in wonder as another flame flickers, cutting the darkness. The smaller boy of the two sighs.
“It’s so long”.
I nod. The twenty-four days that it takes for Mary to journey around the circle of candles truly is not that long, but for a young boy, counting the days to Christmas seems like an eternity. I draw the boy close to my side.
“Remember the people who waited for Jesus to be born? Back when things were dark, and lonely and the people didn’t know where to go. Or how they could be back with God?”
This time, he is the one to nod.
“I’m sure it felt long to them, too, honey”.
I too, think of the people. They groaned. An old man, longing for lineage, longing for a name. People in bondage in a land that was not their own. They waited, not so patiently at times, and they groaned. For freedom. For deliverance from their slavery. And the Lord heard. And that is why we celebrate. Because He does hear. He gave us a wee one — His own Son. To deliver us, to give us a name, and be our freedom. Oh yes, we celebrate!
But my heart whispers that something is not right. There is pain and my soul aches. I stumble as I walk. I fall, the tears tumble to the ground. My words sting and burn. I listen closer. I, too, groan.
It is still a season of advent. One where we wait, where we long for His coming. He has been here, but has promised to return. I feel so tired and so worn. I struggle, groaning inwardly for some kind of relief. And that’s how it was meant to be from the beginning. We are frustrated, not by our own doing, but by the One who wants us to be free. To know that there is something not right and long for the freedom of His glory. My soul waits eagerly for His coming. I carry hope, that like Abraham and his stars, and the Israelites and their chains, He will hear my groaning and remember His promise. That one day, soon, I will stand, fully His and my body will be redeemed.
My eyes rest on the candle again. Oh, I am so thankful for that precious Babe. And the sweet peace of the hope of advent that promises it will not always be this way.