(Here's Susie, how old? I'm guessing 3)
Tenderly, deeply, lovingly tucked in my favorite Christmas memories was the early Christmas morning tradition of waiting. My two sisters and I were instructed to sit at the top of the stairs and wait. And wait. And wait. We were to wait until Mom and Dad said we could come downstairs. Our stairs were in two sections, so we couldn’t (even after many ingenious attempts), we couldn’t see down into the living room from the top of the steps. In the living room, you see were the Christmas tree and the fireplace. In the living room would be the empty plate and milk glass that Santa had shared before jumping back in his sleigh and hurrying off to the next house. Down the stairs and in the living room would be where Santa left his presents for each of us. But there we were every Christmas morning, my sisters and I at the top of the stairs ~ waiting.
For many of us Advent continues to hold that childlike place of waiting at the top of the stairs.
Over the years though, we find that what we are waiting for has shifted. Now we are waiting for things not so much for ourselves, but for others. Often it is the joy we experience when we watch someone open the present we’ve given them. But truth be told, it is so much more than that.
This year it is a cup of cold water for our sisters and brothers in the Philippines and in Sandy Hook; it is a peaceful night with no bombs or bloodshed in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, in Gaza and Bethlehem; and it is a safe place to sleep and something warm to eat for those who are homeless. This year we remember that we are linked arm and arm around the world with those who are younger and older, richer and poorer, darker and lighter- skinned ~ then, then our waiting means so much more. We await the Promised One who will bring us, all of us, we pray peace, joy and love.
Breath prayer: “Come, Jesus” “Come”
Prayer: Loving and life-giving God, we await the One who has been promised. We stand with brothers and sisters who are hurting in the season and we call for your loving-kindness. Come soon, we pray. Come soon. Amen.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.