Living with Longing

by Sarah Born, M.A.

I didn’t grow up in a liturgical church, so a few years ago when friends started talking about Advent, I felt a little lost. Little did I know, I was already on a journey that would put me right in a church that is highly liturgical–in the Anglican tradition. That in itself is a story for another day, but the point is that the church calendar has been gaining a lot of significance in my life.

imagesAccording to the church calendar, three Sundays ago we ushered in the New Year with the start of Advent. I’ve come to understand that Advent, a word that means “coming”, is a season of anticipation and longing. As the calendar plays out the story of Christ, this season provides anticipation of the day we celebrate his birth. It also reminds us that we are still longing for his second advent–the time when he comes again and all things are made right.

Anticipation and longing describe experiences that are so familiar to me. You see, as a counselor, I hear stories of suffering, pain and struggle that cry out in anticipation and longing for things to be made right. So this year, as we entered the season of Advent, I recognized those familiar “companions” that so many of us feel all year-round. It’s sort of like wondering if Christmas is every really going to come.

Anticipation and longing are really appropriate experiences of this time of year. We live in the middle of a story unfinished so we must anticipate and we must long for something more. Recognizing this has calmed my urge to avoid the discomfort of anticipating and longing. It is appropriate and belongs–and provides hope because it reveals the story isn’t over.

Categories Article | Tags: | Posted on December 16, 2014

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