Often times we think of Advent as a season to celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas. It is easy for us to forget that Christ has promised to come again and that this is also season to yearn for His return. Yet, that isn’t the easiest thing for us to do. Read our friend Andrew’s thoughts on why yearning can be difficult.
Andrew is a native Floridian, artist, writer, and devoted member at our West Seattle Expression. When not at work, you can find him out in nature or enjoying some of Seattle’s amazing coffee.
As I was working on this post, a post about yearning for the second coming of Christ, I was having trouble. To be honest I have very little sense of “yearning” this year. At Advent, we’re supposed to look at the first time that Jesus came while also anticipating the second coming. He kept his promise to Israel, so he will keep his promise to the Church. But for some reason, this year I feel cold. It’s frustrating because the Advent/Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. To me it really is the most wonderful time of the year. As I was asking myself questions about whether or not it was because I was living in some kind of unrepentant sin, etc, I heard the song, “Prepare Him Room” by Sovereign Grace Music. The lyrics, “Prepare him room! Prepare him room! Let the King of Glory enter in!” made me think of two things.
1) I am full of distractions. My room for God’s coming kingdom had become a junk closet of distractions: YouTube videos, Facebook newsfeeds, political rants, Netflix, relationship concerns, money and career concerns, “the future,” etc. Maybe I forgot what I had prepared room for. Or maybe I have grown weary of waiting so I gradually lost the passion I used to have. Whatever it was, I feel packed full of distractions, so there is no room for yearning for anything else.
2) Yearning comes from realizing there is a void. It is the exile who longs for restoration, the wanderer who yearns for home, the afflicted who yearns for healing, the oppressed who yearns for a king of justice, and the hungry and thirsty who yearn for food and water. It’s not that I am none of these things, but maybe I’ve been so distracted that I’ve forgotten my need for a Savior and for restoration. In other words, it requires humility.
But the problem is that I don’t feel like making room or humbling myself. But of course, it doesn’t matter if we feel like it or not, because Jesus is the King. We are still called to “prepare the way of the Lord” regardless of what we feel like doing. His kingdom is being established whether we feel it or not. He is returning to restore all things, and we should prepare by joyfully taking refuge in him and nothing else.
And this is exactly why Advent is needed. We forget what we should be yearning for, and we so quickly fall asleep and forget that there is something greater than the humdrum of our own little lives and our stuff and our jobs and our communities. There is a world that is much bigger than my own, and it is going to one day supersede everything that I hold dear and believe to be oh-so-important. Our good and just King came once and he is going to come again.
So, stop with whatever it is lulling you into sleep. Stop with the vanity, stop with the porn dabbling, quit worrying about your money and career, quit those stupid political debates, stop demonizing others, stop being petty, stop loving sin, because our God is coming to dwell with us. Emmanuel is coming to join heaven and earth once and for all, and nothing can stand against him; so we must cast aside all things that bind us to this current life and prepare our hearts for the kingdom to come. Jesus is coming to save his people and rule over us with justice and equity. Prepare the way of the Lord, and open the gates wide to welcome the King!