As a ten year old, I often crammed a cassette tape into the stereo so I could record a new favorite song from the radio in order to learn the lyrics. I grabbed my notebook, pushed play, and wrote down every word. Play. Stop. Rewind. Play again. When I finished writing down the entire song, I would rewind again and sing along. I have a lot of old songs in my repertoire because of this practice.
I am still a lover of lyrics even though the process to learn a song isn’t quite as difficult. Google changed everything, including taking the time to really contemplate and learn the message in a song.
As we enter Advent, I have had so many thoughts about what I should write and share. What stories would challenge us as a church? Which scripture might offer a new perspective? How can I wait for Jesus more this year than last and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle and spending and consumerism? Where am I falling short and where do I want to grow and change and make a difference in the world?
I started to write out a plan. Which sounded oddly like a commercial. You too can experience a meaningful Advent in just four easy lessons.
And then I heard a new song.
I always wait with expectation when Sara Groves releases an album. Her beautiful, thoughtful lyrics always capture my heart in such a meaningful, relevant way. She has a gift that makes it seem as though she snuck into my home, stole my journal, and wrote several songs about my own contemplation or struggle. I am grateful for her gift.
One song on her new album, Floodplain, is called My Dream. It’s based on a conversation she had with her grandfather, a wise man of deep faith. He shared with her that in this late season of his life, he has often been “beset with doubt” and filled with questions. He wondered if he did “the right things” and made “the right choice.” He couldn’t help but ask, “How much folly and foolishness will God put up with? How much can He carry?”
I often wrestle with the same questions, deeply believing that God is just shaking his head at my own folly and struggle. How long will it take me to get this? How long until I trust Him and live according to His promises? Does he feel weary and is he finally getting to the point where He will just dismiss me in disgust?
Yes, I know His Word says otherwise, but enough is enough already.
Sara’s grandfather shared that in the process of wrestling, he began to have a dream every night during that time between awake and sleep. In the dream, he walks down the street and sees God waiting in the driveway. Waiting for him. Sara writes, “I can tell by your movement, you’re not angry. You’re waiting there.”
That dream gave Sara’s grandfather deep comfort. And God in His mercy allowed him to dream it every night for a year.
God is waiting for us. Can you picture the look on His face? He’s not angry.
We spend so much time talking about how Advent is a time of waiting for Jesus. We strive to create meaningful activities that will prove we are waiting well. I google ideas and read books so that I can feel like I am not missing the point of Advent. We long to help our kids experience the real meaning of Christmas as they keep adding to their Christmas wish list. I don’t know about you, but I often am plagued with guilt or frustration or more often just an indifference because I know I can’t measure up this season. I can’t afford all of the presents, don’t have time to implement the cool ideas, and often just find myself holding my breath to get through it.
So when I listen to this song, and consider that God is patiently waiting for me, it overwhelms me.
What if this Advent we spent time considering the beauty of a God who is waiting for us? Can we rest in that belief this season? Can we help each other to remember it? Perhaps as we experience a God who waits, we will find freedom to experience His birth in a new way. Freedom to look deeper at what keeps us from His love and freedom to love each other in a deeper, more beautiful way.