Wait for the Lord- an Advent devotional for Dec. 15, 2017

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This Advent season I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

The second to last Friday before Christmas, is also the start of the last full weekend before Christmas Eve. That’s probably one of the many downsides of Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, and especially it falling on the Fourth Sunday of Advent.

For many people, this may feel like a frantic weekend. It might be full of parties. It might be full of shopping. It might be full of Sunday School Christmas program practices and and presentations, sharing the message in worship this weekend. (Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to the Sunday School program at my congregation this weekend.)

What I am thinking though is that this weekend, perhaps more than others, might feel like a busy, full, and rushed one as people make their last push of preparations to get packages wrapped and in the mail. It might be the weekend of shopping for those Christmas meals and last minute gifts. It might be a weekend with no time to spare in the preparation process. Or, for others it might be the long awaited weekend to see the new Star Wars movie. (Please- no spoilers allowed , I haven’t seen it yet, and likely won’t until late next week at the earliest.)

I am not sure it will feel as frantic like this for me, I am hoping that our planning has made it so that it will be a breeze. I am looking forward to spending time with friends and colleagues over the next few days in celebrations of different sorts. And as we make those preparations for those gatherings, the simple words of an Advent Taizé hymn come to mind.

Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart!

That is the entire song. Like most Taizé songs it is meant to be repeated and learned. The worship and music person in me is kicking myself for not having thought of this song earlier this season, because it would have been a perfect compliment in the Advent healing service the other night. Oh well. I will make a mental note about that for next year.

These words and the sustained pace at which they can be sung, especially as half and whole notes, are ones that as I think about them this morning, they slow me down. They slow my breathing. Go ahead, and try it with me.

Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord: be strong, take heart!

20171215_090438
Buddy is waiting for the Lord again this morning at the base of the tree, next to the nativity.

With all that is happening- good and perhaps not so good in our lives, it’s important to keep this in perspective. We don’t wait idly by, but we do wait, pause, refresh, and listen so that we can be mindful and awake to God’s presence. 

As a non-native Nebraskan, one of the things that I am still getting used to here is the wind. The way it can blow from all directions, and can pick up in intensity at any time, is still surprising. Where we live, it often is the only thing you can hear outside.

As I am thinking about these words today, I wonder if that wind I have heard a lot this past week, just might be the Holy Spirit who is really up to something? Next time I hear it, I hope that these words come to mind, so that I can pause and listen. Maybe, just maybe, there’ll be a glimpse of something new that God is doing. Or maybe, it will just be the strong Nebraskan wind knocking over the outdoor nativities again. Or both. Things to ponder for what could otherwise be a frantic Friday. I hope it is not a frantic Friday, but a fulfilling Friday for me, and for you. 

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Credit/Reference: Taizé Community, Jacques Berthier, “Wait for the Lord,” (1984, Les Presses de Taizé), found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 262.

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