Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Double Advent (repost)

(I wrote this post in December of 2009, our last Christmas without children).

Joy to the World!
The Lord is come, let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare him room…

Preparing room in our hearts for Jesus.  Isn’t that what the Advent season is about?

But how does one actually prepare for an event as monumental as the arrival of Christ into the world?  At the moment of our conversion, did we ever pause to consider the enormous significance of his entrance into our lives and what would happen when he arrived to take his rightful place in our hearts? And during this season of Advent, are we prepared to welcome him into our lives anew?

If we’re honest, I think the answer is "yes and no."

The dictionary defines the word "advent" as "the arrival of something momentous."  I have to wonder, though, when those momentous occasions occur, do we truly realize what is arriving?

This year, as my wife and I take time each week of Advent to pause and "prepare him room", this season of preparation is taking on a deeper meaning, for we are actually preparing for two advents.  We are preparing for both Christmas day, and for what is affectionately known in our adoption agency as "gotcha day."  We long for this day, a day that will finally arrive after eighteen months of paperwork, social worker visits, blood tests, two sets of fingerprints, waiting lists, court dates, and a marathon flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.   A day when we meet our little one/ones for the first time and become his or her (or their!) forever family.

Everything in our lives is about to change dramatically.  Nothing will be the same.

Are we prepared to welcome this infant into our lives?  Yes and no.

So much will have to change, starting with our names. The stockings hanging over our fireplace have the names "Brian" and "Tracy" stitched into the fabric.  Those will have to go.  Next Christmas, the new ones will read "Mom" and "Dad."

Our home currently feels like a haven of safety and comfort in the world.  Our new family member will quickly challenge that assesment and will reveal to us a world of dangers we either never saw or comfortably ignored–things like exposed electrical outlets, glass keepsakes, and unlocked medicine cabinets.

Our current media consumption, our time spent with friends, our waking and sleeping schedules, our leisure time…it’s all about to get tossed out the window and replaced with something new.


The arrlval of baby Jesus seems so innocent and unobtrusive, yet a moment’s reflection on the upheaval awaiting expectant parents like us ought to move all of us to stop for a moment to seriously consider the transformation and upheaval awaiting all who sincerely welcome Christ into their lives.  We are far too comfortable with the Christmas celebration.

But Advent is not a season of fear.  It’s a season of joyful anticipation.  For when Jesus arrives, his upheaval involves rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness and transfering us into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12-13), the true resting place for our restless hearts.

So let every heart prepare him room this Advent season because the glorious disruption that awaits us, the feast that we only begin to sample this side of eternity, promises to enfold us into something and someone beyond our wildest dreams.

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