An Advent Reflection
by the Rev. Erin Clifford
Advent is a season marked by waiting. As we prepare to celebrate the coming (or Advent) of our Lord, we place ourselves in the same spiritual space as many who have come before us. Waiting is not easy but, from beginning to end of Scripture, we see stories of people who are compelled to wait.
Simone Weil, a Jewish author considered to be one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century, wrote, “Waiting patiently in expectation is the foundation of the spiritual life.” What are we waiting for in Advent? One of my favorite Christmas carols is “O, Holy Night” with the lyrics, “Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” During Advent, we are waiting for no less than our soul’s worth to be revealed through the gift of the incarnation. When Christ comes in human form, he reveals the worth of humanity. He declares that the Creator has not forgotten His people. In fact, His plan of redemption is always in motion.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “Waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to something more.” As we wait on God, we are waiting on promises that have already begun to come true in Christ. All of the people we meet in the opening chapters of Luke’s gospel are waiting. This waiting in the gospel (and for a follower of Jesus) is waiting for something that has already begun for us, already started to grow, like a seed. We can’t always see the promise in motion, like a baby bump, so that is why waiting requires faith and trust in the One who is to come.
So, what if this Advent we allowed ourselves to hear the voice of God singing over us and speaking worth into our souls? What if this Advent, we prepare our hearts and minds to hear the story of God speaking worth over humanity, declaring it as clearly as He could, by entering into our world? It’s in Jesus’ birth that He declares humanity’s worth. Jesus wants to teach us how to walk in our worth. He wants to teach us how walking in our worth changes the entire world that we see and the life that we live.
The Reverend Erin Clifford is an international speaker and pastor currently residing in Washington, DC., and she recently spoke at our Women’s Advent Fellowship. Erin is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Missiology in the theology of suffering. She serves on the board of New Wineskins Missionary Network and the Center for Women, Faith and Leadership.
Listen to the audio below to learn more about placing ourselves in the “spiritual space” of waiting