I look the other way and I see my friend whose mum is dying. I am anxious with every beep of my phone that heralds the next text message. Will this be the one? They long for her to be out of pain and to be at Home with Jesus. And yet they long for a few more days. It's so, so hard. I watch from the sidelines and I long for the time when Jesus will come again and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.
I look back many years now and remember when my own dad was dying over Christmas. I remember praying that he would live. And then praying that he would die, to bring an end to his suffering. And then as he lay there neither improving or declining, I remember praying that I would learn to wait in patience for God's perfect timing. And perfect it was, as a few days before he went Home to be with Jesus he gave us the small but sure indication that this was indeed where he was heading. God's perfect timing was perfect comfort.
I look one way, the other, then back and now forward. It makes the shape of the cross. Christ. Christmas. Longing with the excited anticipation of a child. Longing with a heavy heart that is, even so, sustained by the sure hope of a new creation. Learning to wait patiently and to trust that Jesus will come again in God's perfect timing, when all who love Him have been found.
Longing and waiting. Advent.
Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.