God, change our circumstances for the better, like dry streams in the desert waste! Let those who plant with tears reap the harvest with joyful shouts. Let those who go out crying and carrying their seed, come home with joyful shouts, carrying bales of grain. – Psalm 126:4-6 (CEB)
If Advent is a good time to get in touch with our spiritual longings (it is), it is a great time to name exactly what we and the world need, to imagine the life that God intends, and to pray boldly for it.
This psalm shows us one way to do that, starting with the general—God, please make things better!—and then moving on to the specifics of what better would look like: Let those who started out weeping with little but hope in their hands end up shouting for joy, gladly bearing the bountiful fruits of their labors.
If Advent reminds us that God is doing yet another new thing and coming to us in still more unexpected ways (it does and She is), and if Advent invites us to prepare the way for newness (it does), then we’d best get ready to recognize and receive the unlikely and unimaginable answers to our prayers.
If you knew a friend was coming for a long-awaited visit, you’d clean the house and prepare the finest food and drink. If the weather worsened and the hour grew late, you’d turn on all the lights and pace the floor until you heard their knock on the door.
So let us make room in our hearts for the answers to our prayers. Let us live as if our Advent longings will be fulfilled.
I trust you are on your way. Let me be ready to receive you.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.