"Be vigilant. You have no idea when the Human One is going to show up." — Matthew 24:44
True confession: I don't have much patience for traditional early-Advent theology. You can have your First Coming, Second Coming, Coming 'Round Again; surely we can talk about historical context and divine disruption any time. When it comes to Advent, just give me Jesus—and the sooner the better.
The joke is on me, of course, since Advent's spiritual practices are all about waiting and watching and preparing and—did I mention waiting? When we’re forced to wait for something, we have time to get in touch with just how much we really want it and exactly what it is we're longing for. And if we don’t know when or how it will get here, we are encouraged to live on tiptoe—ever expectant, eyes wide, heart aflutter, arms outstretched.
Consider Advent an invitation: a divine summons to desire, to acknowledge the constant craving implanted in your heart. Quiet encouragement to be still. A gentle wake-up call to wonder. Holy permission to put down all the things you think you should be doing for God and, instead, simply revel in God's heartsick love for you.
Consider how amazing that love is: that it longs so much for you to come into your own that it would put on all the glory and grit of you, that it would move into your sketchy neighborhood and hang out in all the wrong places, just hoping for a glimpse of you.
Consider that you never know what that love will look like. Consider that you have no idea when it will show up. So pay attention. Dwell in delight. Stand on tiptoe. Be on the lookout for Jesus.
Great Lover, come to me this Advent like never before. Give me Jesus in all his humanity, that I might know my divinity. Give me Jesus. Again.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.