The Discipline of Anticipation

We are making our way into the holy, sacred season of Advent.  It is a season of preparation and anticipation of the in-breaking of God, who comes to us, always, in the most unexpected and surprising of ways.

For thousands of years, people of faith have taken this month to prepare for the birth of the Christ child.  For, as the great mystic Meister Eckhart once asked, “What good is it that Jesus came two thousand of years ago if he doesn’t continue to come now?”

We live into this season with an anticipation that is marked with hope and longing.

Advent is important because all too often we get bogged down in the daily routine.  We find ourselves burned out, bruised or betrayed and we slowly begin to lose the ability to anticipate or be filled with wonder and awe. 

Advent, however, is a season when we open ourselves up to God and invite God to come into those places where our hearts have lost the ability to be filled with hope, anticipation, wonder and awe. 

Joseph Bottum once wrote, “What advent is, really, is a discipline: a way of forming anticipation.”

I love that image; that Advent is the season when we practice the ‘discipline of anticipation.’

Throughout the year when we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” it’s often said as a future hope. Yet this time each year, we spend a month remembering that it was a fulfilled promise.  When Jesus came to live among us, as Emmanuel, God-with-us, he showed us that he is what Laurence Hull Stookey described as, “the God who keeps promises yet loves surprises”.

Over the next several weeks I hope you’ll heed the invitation to practice the discipline of anticipation and open yourself up and invite God in.  I hope you’ll join us we’ll enter into this season together—a season filled with Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love—seeking God’s presence and promises, yet keeping open and flexible to whatever God might surprise us with.

For, once again in the words of Frederick Buechner, “If you concentrate for just an instant, far off in the deeps of you somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart.  For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath.”

Many blessings on your journey to Bethlehem,