I remember sitting at our kitchen table this time last year and saying to Dustin, “I think I get advent now. Adoption has made me get it. I’ve never longed for something I know is coming so much in life.” This time last year we had just sent all of our papers to Uganda. We were done fundraising. We had paid all the money. We had done all the things. The only thing left to do was go. And so we were just waiting. We were waiting for a court date and we were waiting to travel. We were waiting to meet our son. We were waiting to hold him and know him and love him. We were waiting for someone else to tell us, “You can go to him.” We were waiting and longing and aching for what was to come. We were preparing. We were expectant.
Oh sweet friends sitting at that kitchen table a year ago, if only you knew. So many things can happen in a year. So many damn things.
I’m ready for Jesus to come back. Like, officially really ready. I couldn’t say that before March. I couldn’t say that until I saw evil and darkness with my own two eyes. I couldn’t say that until I held a little boy and then had to walk away from him. I couldn’t say that until I saw broken systems and broken families right in front of me. I couldn’t say that until I experienced injustice. I couldn’t say that until I experienced fighting for a life that I can never make better. I couldn’t say that until my heart was ripped out of my chest. I couldn’t say that until I knew grief and brokenness. What happened in March changed me. It changed me hard. I long for Jesus in a way I’ve never longed for him before. I ache for him to come back; to redeem and restore and make things new. I’m expectant of him and his return, for what that will mean for this world. My heart simply longs for Jesus.
Next week is Christmas and I find myself longing and waiting again this advent season. I’m longing much in the same ways as last Christmas: I’m waiting for a tiny person to be in my arms for good. I’m longing to be a mom. I’m longing to have a family. I’m preparing and expectant and waiting. I’m aching for our story to know redemption.
I’m finding that advent gives me permission. It gives me permission to long and hope for something. It gives me permission to want and wait and expect. Advent allows me to feel the pain of wanting something I don’t have yet. It grants me permission to feel grief, to feel the brokenness of living in this world. Advent allows me to anticipate, anticipate what is coming.
I think what I’m learning right now is that advent is okay. It’s okay to wait. It’s okay to feel pain and brokenness. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to anticipate what is coming. It’s okay to truly long for something. It’s okay to prepare. It’s okay to sit in the tension of waiting and hoping and hurting and expecting. Living in advent is okay. It’s okay because it’s teaching me that my heart will always long for something more. Living in advent is teaching me that I will know the hard things, the hurting and waiting and aching and longing. Living in advent is teaching me that my heart will not always feel joy.
I think living in advent also prepares your heart for Jesus. We don’t know what it’s like to long until we have longed. We don’t know what it’s like to prepare and wait and expect until we have prepared and waited and expected. We don’t know advent until we know it. I would live through the past year again if it meant that at the end of it all I would long, like truly long for Jesus in a new way. I would do it all again if it meant that all I would want was the hope that Jesus brings. I would do it all over again if it meant that my heart would physically ache for redemption that only Jesus can fulfill.
I kind of think life is just one big advent season, we just only talk about it at Christmas. We’re all just waiting and longing for something more. We’re all expecting that redemption will come. We’re all just aching for the king, the savior, to come back. We’re all just sitting in the tension of longing, waiting, anticipating, and expecting. We’re all just hoping in the not yet. We aren’t supposed to want to stay on this earth. This life was meant to prepare us for something greater. And so you know, if at the end of the all the hard and the longing and the aching, all I can say is: “Come Lord Jesus?” I’ll take it.