Sometimes Advent is dark because I need direction. Even in the mundane choices in my world there are so many options! And so much seems to be elastic and unknown. When it comes to making choices that are merciful, just and kind, the right thing is not always clear. Nor are the directions in which I should go–to the right? to the left? straight ahead? back?
The Advent cast of characters must have had similar questions. Mary: what should I do? Joseph: what should I do? the shepherds: where in Bethlehem will be find something that has “come to pass”? And surely the Wise Ones had to make choices or throughways, overnight stays and allocation of resources for the day to day persistent journey. For them there was a Star keeping them on track, and I wonder if lighting the Advent candles, two this week, is a way of my keeping my eyes on the one thing most necessary–looking for the ways that the Holy shines on and in me and illuminates my path, footstep by footstep.
I confess I would like a clear, reliable GPS reading for each day of Advent, in fact for the rest of my life. But I am comforted by the words of Carrie Newcomer:
I am learning to live without knowing/ when I don’t see where it’s going…Here’s a clear space I’ve chose/where the denseness of this world opens/where there’s something steady and true. regardless of me and of you.
Each of the Advent travelers knew this truth, and it is a call to me as I light the second candle. My faith is in the One who daily places a Star on the route in front of me, step by step, even if I can’t see Steps three, five and ten.
The prophet Isaiah knew about not knowing, waiting, watching , listening discerning. He even tells us that God is waiting…to be gracious to us, to me (Isaiah 30:18), and when we join in that waiting, “your eyes shall see your Teacher, And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (vv.21,22).
So in this darkness I wait with my two candles this week, trusting that there is something steady and true, eager to share another step for me–in aging, in loving, in reaching out, in bringing hope and love to the world in the name of the One in Coming and will come again! Advent continues!