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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Longing presupposes Lack. Or Advent thoughts after the Mandera quarry massacre.

Advent season is upon us.  I revel in the decorations we have been putting up in the middle of Africa for two decades, the Messiah playing on an ipod, the cheery fire crackling as Kenya’s delayed rainy season seems to have arrived with intent to pour down two months’ worth of rain in two days.  The Advent calendars are hung, and candles lit.

But Advent is not, first and foremost, a season of ribbons and light.  It is the season of longing, waiting, expecting, preparing.  And longing implies a lack of that for which we long:

Peace on Earth, because the world is now at war.
Light, because the darkness presses. 
Reunion, because we are fractured and lonely.
All things made new, because they are so, so, broken.

In Advent we do not gloss over the chaos and darkness and evil.  They are the context of coming. 

Here in a land where terrorists attacked a bus last week and brutally shot 28 people, then attacked quarry workers in their tents shooting 32 and beheading 4 of them this morning, where we admit children spindly with malnutrition, where in the last week we lost a 4-year-old to TB and had a teenager in the ICU with previously unrecognized AIDS . .

In such a land, watching for the coming of the King is a matter of life and death.

So we begin Advent fully acknowledging the swirling sea of darkness, blood, tears.

We light a candle, a small circle of light, the beginning of victory.

Note:  Here’s what we’re reading this advent
Comfort Ye My People (Bruner) (link here)
Preparing for Christmas (Rohr) (link here
Following the Star, online daily devotion from d365



Sending wishes of a beautiful, loving, peaceful Christmas to you and your family and extended family of brothers and sisters you care for and witness to. May many come to know the Lord Jesus Christ through your wonderful ministry!

God Bless, you and your family Scott!

Eli and Krista said...

Profound thoughts. I haven't had much time to reflect on the Advent season yet (a toddler and a baby make it difficult to boil water let alone spend time reflecting on Advent!) so thank you for sharing your own thoughts here and inviting us into the beauty and longing of the season.

Nairobi Gilmers said...

My favorite passage about hoping/longing/waiting is Rom 8:

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

We wait "eagerly" yet "patiently". These two seem to be opposites, so our waiting is the tension of the two.