I thought I had a plan. The Advent Calendar I had the urge to make hangs on the door with 22 empty pockets. They are no different than the empty pockets, the places within me, waiting to be filled. It’s a puzzle waiting to be solved and it’s not going according to plan.
What if I don’t find the solution? I can give up. Days One and Two—the words from a stained glass that belonged to my mother, and the 60 year old Christmas card made by my dad—just might have to be enough because there is no plan in place.
I always argued with my dad about this. “You need a plan in order to move from A to B to C!” he would say.
“I’m not good with plans. Y and Z look more appealing to me than B and C!” I would say.
I wish now that I had laid out a plan before I got myself into this. In all honesty, I was hoping that God would catch up with me each morning and I’d discover a jewel to place in a pocket. Deliverables. A deliverable message. But isn’t that kind of like treating God like a cash register? I’m just waiting for my transaction.
So, it’s quite possible, if my heart’s not right, I will only receive the dreaded silence. What if I screw up? Will you forgive me 22 empty pockets…?
But it’s in this silence, in the still quiet time of the early morning hours when I meet with Him that I find my greatest gift. Every morning I wait expectantly for Him to come. He has always shown up, so why do I worry He won’t now?
I wait like all creation is waiting for His return. Advent. The Second Coming. His Love Letter to us speaks of it over and over. Expectant waiting. Like a child He says to come. Expectantly.
Can I do this? I’m laying my trust out there for all to see. Will He come and show me? Will He come and fill my empty pockets?
I have no plan…
Step by step—the stages of a heart’s transformation. “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder…”
I wonder what the empty pocket, the empty place, might be within you that is longing to be filled. ‘Why did you take my loved one away?’ one person says. ‘Why am I sick?’ another. ‘Why is there so much suffering in the world?’ These questions can interfere and we stop climbing. Or we never start to begin with. It’s no wonder.
When a father leaves a home with children to make a new home with new children, when a home is filled with abuse and violence, when a world is filled with raging wars within and all around, where are you God? We have all these empty pockets!
And it’s here, in this silence, in the morning’s wee hours when I am awake and wondering how I can possibly fill 22 more pockets, I hear the words, ‘I was there with you, child. I Am here with you. What you suffer, I suffer.’
But how can those who don’t know God possibly relate to this? It’s making it kind of hard for them to “see” You, don’t You think? These doubt-filled, hope-less, empty pockets hanging on my wall, are the empty pockets that exist within us all.
Can God fill them with hope for the hurting, with delight for the doubting? Can He shine a light on the questions that ask when injustice will end, when fears will subside because this child is longing for a Father to love and care for this big family?
We are like the Magi on a journey to find Him. We have an unsolvable puzzle, or so it seems. We have pockets we can’t fill on our own. And don’t tell me the grief that breaks a person in two, or the sickness that slowly steals a life, that it is here in this suffering that joy is found.
Joy is not the result of a martyr’s suffering…
But is Joy the result of being with the One to which your suffering drove you? The Christmas Child, this Jesus who suffered and who knows your suffering, who waits for you.
There is a puzzle, there are empty pockets. There are unanswered questions and unsolvable mysteries. We need a Savior. Advent. Waiting for the Coming. Preparing our hearts to meet Him, or to go deeper with Him, or to simply sit in the silence until a soul can find rest.
O come all ye faithful. Come let us adore Him. Hope is to be found and joy is waiting.
(Deb’s Advent Calendar. Waiting for Day 3…)