The final spaces on the Advent Calendars in our house are waiting. The gaps, though smaller, speak louder and louder of the missing piece, the final picture, the end. The longing of the month is almost complete. Christmas Day is around the corner.
The presents stand waiting to be torn open. The fridge is groaning with the weight of food in it, the small boy asks to fill in the calendar as soon as he wakes, knowing somewhere in his mind that we are almost there. Almost there.
The space seems to grow larger and larger.
The empty gap.
The final piece.
Tomorrow the puzzle will be complete. The picture will tell the full story, Christmas will be here, the baby in the stable, the culmination of history and this Advent time.
But my heart is still aching. The missing puzzle piece is still missing in our lives right now. We live in the second Advent and it feel so long. So long until this picture will be right again. The gap screams louder although I try to drown out the silence of this unfinished masterpiece with distraction and things and shiny.
The gap remains.
Christmas is coming. I shall enjoy the shiny, I shall unwrap and give presents, I shall eat until my stomach begs me to stop. I shall celebrate and dance and sing because the light that the darkness does not know what to do with has come. But my heart will ache. The day will not be enough. The sadness will not go.
And it is right that this joy is tempered by longing, by aching for more, by unmet expectations. Christmas day is not the answer to it all. The gap remains in the story. We are still looking for the final dawn, when our white rider will sweep down the valley sides and scoop up his people. When the sun shines finally forever. When the tears are wiped away. When the injustice ends. When there are no more people sat in squalid camps fearing for their lives. When my greed and selfishness will be wiped out. When we will no longer be able to hurt and hurt and hurt those around us. When warfare will end. When the One who made the world will come back and renew and restore and create again. When the groaning will end.
So whatever this Christmas holds, imperfections, unmet expectations, disappointing moments or joy and wonder and excitement, whatever it holds there is more. There is more. It’s not meant to be the best day ever. Oh that day is still to come. Still to come. Still to come.
Hold on. And let this Joshua Garrels song soothe you into the wonder of all that will be.
Wait and long for it as Simeon and Anna did. Hope in the darkness. Hope this Christmas time.
“And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of god is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon” (Josh Garrels)
Come Lord Jesus. Come.