I see the curve in the road ahead and know that just beyond the curve is the end. But the road curves, and because the road curves, the trees block from view the place where the road ends.
Advent is almost over, which means this spiritual practice of waiting comes to a close, but it strikes me that, while I’ll pass through Christmas in only two days, I won’t be turning the corner. Not now, at least. I’ll pass through Christmas Day and find I’m still on the long road, with the curve still up ahead, blocked by the trees.
This waiting is open-ended; it doesn’t stop on Christmas Day.
I’ll be honest with you: my heart sinks a little at that. I want the waiting to end. I have seen a glimpse of the end through the leaves on the trees, and I want to be there already. My legs are sore and the sun is hot and why can’t it be the end yet? Is all this waiting for nothing?
I’ll confess to you: I secretly wished this observing of Advent would be like a magical spell, that each word and sentence penned would be like an incantation that would dissolve every trouble and fulfill every desire. But Christmas approaches and I’m still longing for these things, good things and bad things, some of God and some of not-God.
I think of Mary, pondering what happened in her heart. I think, though she may wear simple clothes and lay her head on a bed of straw, her thoughts are like gold, glittering treasure in her heart. She knows that love, that being, that God Himself is with her there, lying beside her in the straw.
And don’t we know it, too? Don’t we know that love, that being, that God Himself is here with us? We may not have reached the end, but we have gold in our hearts already.
A friend introduced me to Sandra McCracken last year. I have been listening to her some this Advent. The Wait is a good Advent song. So is Dynamite, which I’ll share with you here, partly because it’s the only one I could find on YouTube :P, but mostly because it’s a good song about desire.
Those who have ears, as the smoke it clears
will see things as they are
to bend the will, you first must change the heart