What Are We Waiting For This Advent – The Entire Series

Many thanks to all those who participated in the series What Are We Waiting For This Advent? Even though Advent is over there is still a lot of interest in the posts from this series.  For many of us these days after Christmas Day – the Christmas season which ends with the Eve of Epiphany, are much more relaxed than those before so it is a great time for some quiet reflection.

So if you want to take advantage of time for some quiet reflection here is the entire list:

Fourth Week of Advent:

Still Waiting – An Advent Reflection by Christina Whitehouse Suggs

Awaiting the Morning – An Advent Reflection by Brad Culver

On the Side of the Rebel Jesus – A Christmas Carol by Jackson Browne

Advent Waiting on the Cancer Journey – reflection by Jill Aylard

Third Week of Advent

Habbakkuk Revisited – An Advent Reflection by Dave Timmer

Amazing Grace Christmas Lights

The Least Likely – An Advent reflection by Kathy Escobar

We Don’t Invite Jesus Into Our Lives, He Invites Us into His – An Advent reflection by Jason Clark

Patience in A Time of Distraction – An Advent reflection by Thomas Turner

A Cynic’s Hope – An Advent Reflection by Ryan Marsh

Waiting Without Busyness – Reflection By Greg Rickel Bishop of Olympia

Advent – We Don’t Know What We Are Waiting For by Ed Cyzewski

A Journey of Longing – Advent Reflection by Tara Malouf

Second Week of Advent:

Second Monday of Advent – My Violin Advent by Barb Buckham

Second Monday of Advent – Waiting Disagreeably for the Prince of Peace

Second Tuesday of Advent – Waiting Down Under by Andrew Wright

An Australian Christmas Carol

Second Wednesday of Advent – What Does Copenhagen Have to do with Jerusalem by Malcolm Duncan

Second Wednesday of Advent – More Advent Resources

Second Wednesday of Advent – Advent Waiting a poem by Andrew Wade

Second Thursday of Advent – Finding the Christ in Christmas by James Prescott

Second Friday of Advent – Waiting Without a Calendar by Kristin Tennant

Waiting for the Lord – Music From Taize

Waiting for the Homecoming of God – A Liturgical Reflection

First Week of Advent

The First Sunday of Advent

First Monday of Advent: Reflections from Mosaic Bible and Lynne Baab

First Tuesday of Advent: Waiting for a Job – Reflections by Coe Hutchison & Judy Naegeli

World AIDS Day – What Are We Waiting For

Shifting Your Wait: An Advent Reflection by Jason Fowler

First Wednesday of Advent – Waiting: A Reflection by Julie Clawson

First Thursday of Advent – Actively Waiting in Newness of Life – David Bayne

Waiting for the Advent of Light – Christine Sine

Advent Reflections by Karl Westerhoff on the Loss of A Daughter

Let Our Eyes Be Opened – Advent Reflection by Kimberlee Conway Ireton

First Saturday of Advent: Holy Waiting – A Reflection by Liz Dyer

You may also like to check out some of these other entries with Advent resources

Celebrating Advent With Kids

Daily Bible Readings For Advent

The Coming of the Lord is Near – An Advent Meditation Video for 2009

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Still Waiting – An Advent Reflection by Christina Whitehouse-Suggs

This is the last in the series What Are We Waiting for This Advent Season.

This post comes from Christina Whitehouse-Suggs.  She describes herself as a chameleon who struggles with finding a color of my own. I’m a performer who often loses my voice only to find it in silence. I’m a Baptimergent minister who is more comfortable among sinners than saints. I’m still searching for my tribe.  She blogs at Thoughts From the Journey

Ron Garvaise - Madonna with Child

I do not like to wait.

Call me impatient (I am). Call me a product of the consumer generation (I am). Call me what you will…I do not like to wait.

Which is why the season of Advent is so good for me.

I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent. I’d never even heard of it until after graduating college…yes, think mid-20’s. What a revelation! Spending almost an entire month preparing myself for the coming of Christ…instead of rushing into the season, thoughtless and mindless of the implications of the season for me as someone who professes to follow Christ (but rarely stops to think about what that really means).

And so, here I am, 10 years later, celebrating Advent yet again.

While many texts and sermons focus on the idea of “we are a people who are waiting in the darkness…waiting for the light of Christ,” I have a different perspective. I believe this season of waiting is ripe with possibilities and full of hope and promise.

Five years ago, I was 7 months pregnant with Kara, my first (and only, thus far) pregnancy. There was fear and hope and mystery and a great sense of the unknown wrapped up in the experience. I couldn’t peer into my womb to see her develop – I could only greet each new day with a sense of wonder and expectation. There were flutters of life (though with Kara, she kept her feet planted into my ribs most of the time…so it was more than “flutters” that I felt). The only indicators we had of her life were my swollen belly (and ankles and face and rear end and…) and the occasional hiccup I could feel as she grew and inched her way towards her due date.

Yes, it was more tangible than our waiting for the coming of the Christ-child. Yes, it was a one-time event for me…not something I experience every year (thank God!).

But there is something to be learned in the waiting time. There is something inside all of us that is longing to be born – hope or joy or peace or love – every year! But it isn’t something that can be rushed. We must nurture it, give it time and energy…and sometimes we must simply…wait.

Adventus Domini. Come, Lord Jesus. Come. We are your people and we are waiting.

Awaiting the Morning – An Advent Reflection by Brad Culver

Today’s Advent reflection comes from Brad Culver.  Brad is a mentor, teacher, pioneer, along with Mary his wife of 37 years, until recently gave leadership to the Refuge a missional faith community founded in 1994. They presently reside in Innerkip Ontario Canada as they prepare to embark on a new adventure. Brad blogs at Living Water From an Ancient Well

Morning light

Awaiting the Morning
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I am very fond of Christmas.  Particularly Christmas morning .I always have been. . Even as the festivities are winding down I’m already longing for the next year’s celebrations.

Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I’m not a morbid death wish kind of guy.  I love life. Every day is a gift. Each breath is a miracle. It astounds me to know the creator of everything seen and unseen thought to make food taste good and sex feel great. “L’Chaim, To Life”.


Still, part of me groans waiting to be delivered. Early on in the human story a Leviathan of darkness entered Gods world of wonder, pillaged the human heart and left in its wake, a trail of selfishness, despair, brokenness and oppression.  As C S Lewis put it, “we are bent”, desperately bent, crooked little folk in our crooked little world.

Theologian George Eldon Ladd, spoke of the tension of the already not yet. The
Kingdom is proclaimed. Redemption is here. The Incarnation has arrived, yet we
await the fullness. “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”, I get it. I watch. I wait. We watch. We ache.

Death, we don’t much like to talk about it, let alone think about it. The
moment we are born we are moving toward our physical death. We can’t escape the
fact that death is a constant companion, but death is not the end.  Unless a seed fall in the ground and die…This is the rhythm until Christ returns.

Peter Marshall the Scottish Presbyterian Minister who in later life was the
Chaplin of the US Senate used to share a story about a wee lad who dying and
afraid of the unknown fearfully asks his mother ‘What is it like to die”. She
comforts him by explaining that death is like turning out the lights, going to
sleep and awakening to a brand new day. On his death bed Peter Marshall turned
to his wife Catherine and said “see you in the morning.”

I a wait the morning when I awake in His likeness.  I a wait the dawning of a new day where death is no longer victorious, tears have ceased, sickness vanished, injustice, exploitation and oppression abolished, and we practice war no more. When finally, Empire gives way and “the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ and He will reign for ever and ever”…and we will wait no more.

Advent Waiting on the Cancer Journey – Reflection by Jill Aylard Young

This evening’s Advent reflection comes from Jill Aylard Young. Jill serves on the board of Mustard Seeds Associates. A recent Princeton Theological Seminary graduate and originally from Covina, California, she now lives with her husband Matthew and daughter Grace in Elysburg, PA where Matthew is pastor of Elysburg Presbyterian Church. Focusing on her roles of mother and pastor’s wife, Jill is continuing in the ordination process, leads a weekly prayer practice group, and plans to become certified as a spiritual director. Her parents, brother, and sister live in Auburn, WA.

Jill with her mother

As I write this I am waiting to hear results of my mother’s scans, to find out if the cancer is being kept at bay or how far it has advanced in her body. Each time we have one of these “reality checks,” we experience emotional aftershocks from the day we first got the horrendous and totally unexpected news of the large cancerous tumor in her kidney that we later learned originated in her bladder.

I’m praying for my mum, that “love would cast out fear” as she waits this day. Over the last several months she has been remarkably hopeful and positive. When we visit in person or Skype long-distance, communicating via web-cam between Pennsylvania and Washington, I see her embracing life and her loved ones – delighting, for example, in each new developmental step that her 15–month-old granddaughter Grace takes or in hearing from her son-in-law about how his sermon is shaping up for the coming Sunday. But waiting to hear from the oncologist is always very difficult for her…and for the whole family.

As I care for our dear daughter Grace, tidy up the house, and prepare for the women’s prayer practices group that is meeting at our house this evening, I feel an anxiety, a fear, a dread around my heart. I want to sooth these feelings by snacking on the Moravian Christmas cookies that I’m laying out on a plate for our guests, or with the satisfaction of checking things off my “to do” list even as Grace tugs for my attention.
Here in this dread-full waiting I feel a nudge, an inner longing, a thirst for a different kind of waiting….for Advent waiting. Rather than satisfy the urge to fill the spaces and cover the fear and sadness, I desire to heed this gentle but urgent tug to slow down…to “prepare a way for the Lord” in my heart….to sit as Jesus’ feet like Mary instead of busying myself like Martha. I want to sit quietly in stillness of heart and mind and just be with God…and know that God is with us on this painful path of cancer.
While we wait, hoping and praying for encouraging test results even as our psyches try to prepare us for the worst, Advent beckons us to ground our hope in Emmanuel – hope that God is with us in this darkness. And to hope for the coming completion of God’s good purposes when fear and disease will be no more – that day of Christ’s coming again in glory for which all creation groans (Romans 8:18-23). May we embrace the light and life that is breaking in now – even if not always in the form of physical healing.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

(from “O Come O Come Emmanuel”)

What Are We Waiting for – Summary for Third Week of Advent

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the daily scriptures are building in anticipation.  But for many of us the longing of Advent is still a very present reality.  Perhaps in these days of Advent you would appreciate the reflections and struggles of others during this season.  Here are the posts that have come in for the What Are We Waiting?

Habbakkuk Revisited – An Advent Reflection by Dave Timmer

Amazing Grace Christmas Lights

The Least Likely – An Advent reflection by Kathy Escobar

We Don’t Invite Jesus Into Our Lives, He Invites Us into His – An Advent reflection by Jason Clark

Patience in A Time of Distraction – An Advent reflection by Thomas Turner

A Cynic’s Hope – An Advent Reflection by Ryan Marsh

Waiting Without Busyness – Reflection By Greg Rickel Bishop of Olympia

Advent – We Don’t Know What We Are Waiting For by Ed Cyzewski

A Journey of Longing – Advent Reflection by Tara Malouf

And for those who missed the earlier posts or would like to browse them again in these last few days before Christmas:

Second Monday of Advent – My Violin Advent by Barb Buckham

Second Monday of Advent – Waiting Disagreeably for the Prince of Peace

Second Tuesday of Advent – Waiting Down Under by Andrew Wright

An Australian Christmas Carol

Second Wednesday of Advent – What Does Copenhagen Have to do with Jerusalem by Malcolm Duncan

Second Wednesday of Advent – More Advent Resources

Second Wednesday of Advent – Advent Waiting a poem by Andrew Wade

Second Thursday of Advent – Finding the Christ in Christmas by James Prescott

Second Friday of Advent – Waiting Without a Calendar by Kristin Tennant

Waiting for the Lord – Music From Taize

Waiting for the Homecoming of God – A Liturgical Reflection

The First Sunday of Advent

First Monday of Advent: Reflections from Mosaic Bible and Lynne Baab

First Tuesday of Advent: Waiting for a Job – Reflections by Coe Hutchison & Judy Naegeli

World AIDS Day – What Are We Waiting For

Shifting Your Wait: An Advent Reflection by Jason Fowler

First Wednesday of Advent – Waiting: A Reflection by Julie Clawson

First Thursday of Advent – Actively Waiting in Newness of Life – David Bayne

Waiting for the Advent of Light – Christine Sine

Advent Reflections by Karl Westerhoff on the Loss of A Daughter

Let Our Eyes Be Opened – Advent Reflection by Kimberlee Conway Ireton

First Saturday of Advent: Holy Waiting – A Reflection by Liz Dyer

You may also like to check out some of these other entries with Advent resources

Celebrating Advent With Kids

Daily Bible Readings For Advent

The Coming of the Lord is Near – An Advent Meditation Video for 2009

The Least Likely – And Advent Reflection by Kathy Escobar

Christmas is coming fast and many of us have shifted our focus away from the waiting of Advent to the fulfillment of the birth of Christ (or if we are honest to the frenzy of present buying and partying).  But we are still in the season of waiting, hoping and expecting.

Today’s reflection comes from Kathy Esobar – mommy. wife. friend. pot-stirrer. shepherd. follower of Jesus. peace maker. rule-breaker. dreamer.  She blogs at The Carnival in My Head where she has written another very powerful Advent reflection – Waiting, Hoping, Expecting the Wrong Things. Kathy is also part of The Refuge in Broomfield near Denver Colorado.  Check out their blog too.  I appropriated this beautiful Celtic blessing from it

God of the watching ones, the waiting ones, the slow and suffering ones, give us your benediction, your good word for our souls, that we may rest.
– celtic advent blessing

i love advent.  in most of my church experiences there wasn’t a specific focus on this season of the church calendar, so for the past 4 years it’s been very refreshing that the refuge, the wild and beautiful faith community i am part of, has always intentionally focused on these weeks leading up to Jesus’ birth.

one of my most favorite parts of the christmas story is how Jesus’ arrival seems to surround a long string of “least likelies.” i don’t think this is coincidental in any way, shape or form.  i think it’s to make a point–one we might talk about this time of year but in the real day-to-day application of it we often miss.  God uses an average not-yet-married-so-it’s-pretty-scandalous-to-all-of-a-sudden-turn-up-pregnant young girl to be the savior-of-the-world’s mother.  God’s earthly father is a run of the mill carpenter.  God sends angels to announce what’s about to happen to some of the lowest-caste citizens–shepherds.  God comes into the world not in a high-class hospital with the most skilled physicians but in a dirty, crowded, stinky stall.

everything about the story is contrary to what was expected of the prophesied-about “messiah.”

to me, that makes total sense.  God’s always been a little crazy that way–using the least likely to make a point. a point that even though we nod our head in agreement we don’t often integrate into the deeper places of our spirituality.

i think it’s because engrained inside of humans is a desire for smoother, easier, strength, power, and upward mobility.  it’s subtly passed on to us through what we value, and when all around us is a focus on “bigger, better, more, whiz, bang, wow factors” it’s hard to ignore the tug toward it.   it’s like some weird magnetic force field always trying to try us in to distract us.  to turn our focus toward what the world says is important, valuable, worth-pursuing.  to turn our focus toward “the most likely.”  the most likely to succeed, the most likely to work, the most likely to make us feel better.

the guiding question christine asked for this advent series was “what are we waiting and hoping for this advent?”

here’s my hope–and it’s not just for advent.  i want to see Jesus.  i want to smell Jesus.  i want to taste Jesus.  i want to feel Jesus.   i want to notice Jesus.  in the flesh.  in the spirit.

and i don’t think i have to strive for it. that seems to be “the most likely” answer–that it’s up to us, it’s up to discipline, it’s up to putting-our-nose-to-the-spiritual-grindstone.

no, the least likely place seems to be where i always find Jesus-in the sweet small ways my heart is pricked and i don’t even know why, the beauty and power of a simple hug, a meal shared with friends, a kind gesture that brings dignity, one more day of sobriety for my brave friends, dollar store gifts that pass on hope.  in gas money exchanged, in laughter, in tears, in the dark places of friend’s stories, in the flicker of a prayer candle, in the messiness of my house that often mirrors the messiness of my heart.  in a long list of little ways that are so easy to miss if i’m focused on the most likely.   these lovely small unlikely things give me hope.

and i am reminded yet again this advent season that Jesus’ unlikely entrance into the world, his unlikely mixing with the lowest-of-the-low, and unlikely upside-down teachings don’t just give me great hope.  they also help me turn my eyes to the last likely, too.

God, may we notice you this advent in the least likely of ways, people, and places.

We Don’t Invite Jesus Into Our Lives, He Invites Into His – Advent Reflection by Jason Clark

This evenings Advent reflection is written by Jason Clark.

Jason planted an emerging church on the SW edge of London 12 years ago, whilst he was an investment broker in the City of London.  He is now a full time pastor/minister of the church, with a Doctor of Ministry and now the middle of a PhD he teaches, trains and lectures on issues of church and culture.

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After the first temple is built by Solomon and on the day of it’s dedication by him, Solomon declares, ‘Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn’t large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I’ve built.’ (1 Kings 8:27). The absurdity that God could fit into the universe let alone a temple is immediately revealed.

Yet the Advent hope of Christmas is that God has located himself in relationship and proximity to us, such that (John 1:14) ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood’.

If you are anything like me, I find that my life doesn’t fit into my own life, let alone the creator of the universe moving in. Too often He is crowded out and left to fit in when I remember Him, need something from him, am in trouble or worried about others. But most of the time, it seems He is squeezed out of my life and neighbourhood.

I’ve also noticed something about the Advent stories, that the people in them have lives that are at least as ‘over-full’ as mine. So how does Jesus move into their neighbourhood and how might he move into my overpacked life?

Too often we think of inviting Jesus into our lives, the Christian cliche of thinking that we open our lives and let Jesus in, ask him in, when we can remember to. The problem, like the people in the Advent story is that he just doesn’t fit. Something else seems to take place in Advent, as Jesus moves into the neighbourhood and invites people into his life, rather dramatically.

Mary and Joseph have their lives not just turned upside down by the arrival of a baby, but have their lives relocated around the agenda of the mission and identity of that baby. Shepherds struggling to make living on the edge of society with no resources, are thrust into the role of evangelism, telling others about the arrival of Jesus in their neighbourhood. And the Wise Men, powerful rules and leaders, rather than have Jesus visit them, leave their positions of authority and travel to a stable in a foreign country, to fit their lives around Jesus.

It seems that when Jesus moves into the neighbourhood, people have to fit into him. And maybe that’s the solution to problem today. I don’t invite Jesus into my life, he arrives to invite me into his life.

His life, as the new temple, is big enough for God, and for us. How is it big enough beyond metaphysical considerations of time and space?

I remember when our first child was born, wondering how our lives would have room, and then she arrives and I was so overwhelmed with love, that at times it seemed infinite. Love made all the space in the world for our child. Then I wondered how I might have any more space and love for another, but I needn’t have worried. With the arrival of each of our children I saw the miracle of love multiplied seemingly infinitely.

And the birth of Jesus, reveals the infinite love of our heavenly Father, who has all the space in his love for us, that the love the Father has for his Son, is the love he has for me as his son.

So this Advent, I am going to stop waiting for Jesus to fit into my life, and ask and move to fit mine into his. (John 14:23) ‘If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighbourhood!’

As I look at my emotional bandwidth, work commitments, family challenges, insecurities and worries, I see I need that more than ever this Advent.