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Waiting Together

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by Jamie Roach

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” 

(John 1:14)

The Season of Advent has long been a central beat of the church calendar helping people stay in rhythm with the Holy Spirit throughout each and every year of their lives. A lot of other songs play too. There are a lot of rhythms asking us to dance to their catchy tunes, especially during the “Christmas Season.” You know some of the familiar songs. There is “Buy Presents,” “Decorate the House,” “Prepare the Food,” “Go to (another) Party.”

Each of these classic tunes does its work on us, and if we are not careful we find ourselves dancing to their driving beats and missing the reason for it all. There is another classic song playing softly and those with ears to hear will recognize the tune. It is the song of the Advent Season. 

I first learned about practicing Advent when I was around eight years old. I learned its simple tune from Pastor John Meyer at Faith Lutheran Church as we lit the candles and prayed simple prayers, finding the Advent rhythm of hope, peace, joy, and love together as a congregation. My mom worked hard to keep the same tune playing in our ears when we got home. Every Advent Season the wreath sat at the center of our dining room table. 

When my wife and I had our own kids, we continued the same practice we had each learned when we were children. Our practice was to gather in our candle-lit living room, listen to the readings, say the prayers, sing songs, light the candles and enjoy sparkling grape juice and cookies. 

Through the years, I saw a miracle slowly taking place before my eyes. Our little family was being transformed as we sat together in a circle. We took time to really see and hear one another. 

As we sat together watching and waiting for Jesus, He showed up. In our hearts, we sensed God’s beauty, weight, and glory. There was more in the room than candles and cookies. God was present.

Our hearts were dancing to the tune of Love as together, we kept time to the beat of hope, peace, joy, and love. Nearly 30 years later, we are still gathering together each Sunday night during Advent. Together we experience the love and connection our hearts all long for.  As we give our attention gently over to God, we really see one another. As we really see one another, we see the face of God.  

Jesus came a couple of thousand years ago announcing that he was bringing God’s kingdom into our very midst. “God’s kingdom is already among you,” he said (Luke 17).  The Season of Advent is about learning how to experience God’s arrival in our normal everyday lives. It has been my experience that Jesus shows up in the space between people who genuinely see one another. When we are together, with our families, there Jesus is, in our midst.  

We still have a couple weeks of Advent left before the start of the Christmas season. The Holy Spirit continues to hum her melody of love. Why not take some time as a family this Sunday evening to listen and dance together? 

 

Looking for a family Advent guide? Subscribe to YF Family in December and we’ll send you our free, downloadable guide with a story from scripture, a family activity and more.

 

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