Advent--a recognition of the time leading up to Christmas--is ultimately a season of expectancy. This fits in well with the life of Emily and myself, as well as most post-college-twenty-somethings...perhaps most anybody. Humans seem perpetually in a state of expectation, waiting, breath held for the-next-thing.
Ultimately, we all (whether we realize it or not) are hoping for and expecting redemption. Eternal redemption, yes, of course, but even smaller redemptions (though they seem large to us at the time and not always undeservedly so)--a job, an unhealthy relationship, a massive debt, an even more massive sense of guilt...As Jon McLaughlin sings, "We all need saving."
December 25, go figure, was a day that needed redemption as well. Some people get their panties (boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, thongs, diapers) all twisted due to the fact that what we now know as Christmas Day used to be a pagan holiday dedicated to the Roman god Sol Invictus (which sounds like an awesome comic book character). Christianity hijacked the holiday though, which celebrated the Winter Equinox, i.e. the day when nights stopped getting longer and, instead, days started getting longer. But this is perfect in two ways:
1) Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, of God's Son, of the Savior and Embodiment of Redemption, is all about word becoming flesh, light shining in the darkness (John 1), and sunrise (Luke 1:78). What better day, when night fades and day breaks, to celebrate Jesus.
2) Christmas is of course the (beginning of the) culmination of God's story of redemption, begun in Genesis. Shouldn't the natural, Christian thing to do be to take a pagan holiday and turn it into a celebration of the One True Light?
Anyway, I was talking about expectation. We recently had a job interview (feel free to e-mail, call, or Facebook if you'd like details) and now we sit in expectation. Will it be a yes? Will it be a no? Expectation can be wearying if you let it get to you. My life and Emily's life can change based off what other people think and feel about us. But again, this is just a microcosm of life in general. So much of our lives is structured around how other people's lives intersect with ours. In so many ways we think we're in control, but those who've been on the receiving end of a car accident or a heart attack or even a stubborn computer know better.
But talking like this can get one down. Deuteronomy 33:27 states, "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." This is certainly more encouraging then what I was talking about. And perhaps even stronger is Zephaniah 3:17:
17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
God is living among us. This needs no expectation. Nor redemption. God is already here. Saving. Singing. Loving.