Agony of Advent

“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot…” Isaiah 11: 1

Advent.

It can be hard, hard, hard.

This waiting.

You tell yourself that this thing you hope for, it will come.

One. Day. Soon.

All in due time.

You only have to be patient.

And good.

You have to persevere.

You have to try harder.

Pray without ceasing.

And never, ever lose hope.

But when this child, you are waiting so desperately for, doesn’t appear,

You are tempted to despair.

You tell yourself conception didn’t happen because

You weren’t good enough.

You weren’t patient enough.

You haven’t persevered long enough.

You feel like a failure because

You can’t do the simplest of human things -

You can’t reproduce.

Fifteen-year-olds, who haven’t the sense God gave a goose, can make a baby in the backseat of a car thirty minutes after the last school bell rings.

But you?

You have stood on your head in a corner, en pointe the floor of heaven, willing the agony of this advent to produce a glorious new birth.

When that method, like the dozens before, didn’t produce magic, either, you withdrew to that dark place, where you alone battle a despair fertile women will never know.

Waiting.

Praying.

Hoping.

There is no joy in Advent without the Promise of an infant child. 

There is only certain hopelessness. 

Without an infant child there are only the desolate tears of a motherhood and fatherhood denied.

Ann Voskamp speaks of this in her book on Advent – The Greatest Gift:

Because without the genealogy of Christ, the limbs of His past, the branches of His family, the love story of His heart that has been coming for you since before the beginning – how does Christmas and its tree stand? Its roots would be sheared. Its meaning would be stunted. The arresting pause of the miracle would be lost.

Because in the time of prophets and kings, the time of Mary and Joseph, it wasn’t your line of credit, line of work, or line of accomplishment that explained who you were. It was your family line. It was family that mattered. Family gives you context, and origin gives you understanding, and the family tree of Christ always give you hope.

We are the perpetual Advent people, Voskamp reminds us.

Advent. Latin. Coming. Waiting.

And so it is this Advent season,

We kneel beside you and pray

We wait in silence

Weeping with you

And hoping beyond the despair that one day very soon

You will hold close a blessed infant child and whisper of the family that endured the Advent alongside you.

 

 

 

 

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Karen, this couplet you wrote captures the spirit of Advent completely:

    And so it is this Advent season,
    We kneel beside you and pray

    You have evoked wonder in my heart today.

    • Karen Zacharias

      Thank you for reading it, Tim, and for the wondering.

  • Sharon O

    sweet,


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