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Feeling the Wait


In January of 1992, David and I traveled to Tallinn, Estonia. We arrived on a Saturday, in the middle of the night after a three-hour, Dramamine-induced ferry ride across the Baltic Sea from Helsinki. We were dropped off at the apartment building where we stayed for three weeks. I don't recall how we got there, but I do seem to recall that we were on the seventh floor, though I may have that detail wrong. (The fact that we didn’t have hot water on the seventh floor is one thing I remember clearly.)


I remember standing in front of the large window that presumably looked out over the city and being unable to see a thing. No streetlights, no house lights, no nothing. Just pure, black darkness. We knew the city was out there, before us, but we couldn’t see anything. So we went to bed in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar apartment (with no hot water), in an unfamiliar city.


The next morning we awakened to the sound of bells. I remember that well, too. I opened my eyes to discover that light was filtering into our room. We jumped from our bed, bounded to the window, and looked out over an incredible sight. A beautiful, ancient, mystical-looking city lay sprawling before our eyes, dotted with colorful, onion-shaped domes, bells pealing from their towers. It was Sunday.


This experience happened thirty years ago yet came to mind this first Sunday of Advent. It’s almost December--the days the shortest, the nights the longest of any other time of year. And the scene from my window-on-the-world is also pretty dark. I’m guessing it seems that way to you, as well. I peer into this absence of light, longing to see the Advent of Christ, the Presence of God among us.


Advent is a season of waiting, of “feeling the wait” of Jesus’ coming. Our faith keeps us at the window because we know the story, we know the wait is pregnant with possibilities. Literally. So we wait and hope that though our vision is currently dim, at some moment we will witness the dawn, the light of the Morning Star. So let us “pay close attention to what they [the prophets] wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19).


Blessed Advent, friends! Please consider this a personal invitation to register for a Fall Creek Abbey Advent Retreat—anytime during Advent, and especially during the week of December 19-23. For more information and to register: https://bit.ly/3OD7Q0w


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