I feel myself to be in a middle place, a place of waiting. It’s uncomfortable, like there’s the tiniest pebble in the bottom of my shoe and I can’t quite shake it out. There is both restlessness and stirring.
We are, of course, in the season of advent in which we wait and prepare our hearts in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some have rituals: lighting a candle each week or reading a passage of scripture or devotion each day. We didn’t observe Advent in the tradition I followed for most of my adult life, aside from chocolates hidden behind cardboard windows.
But advent works its way into our heart.
The dark invites time of quiet reflection and a return to stillness. Lights on trees invite us to remember the Light who came into the world one dark and starry night, the one we are waiting upon, the one who will come again.
Advent is about seeking, and switching our mindset from gratitude for a multitude of gifts, to adoration of the Giver of the sweetest ones. It’s leaning in and listening, sitting still and being present. It’s deep calling unto deep. It’s the sweetest of mysteries.
Sometimes, we feel as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done, then we realize that the most important work has already been accomplished, so we rest. Sometimes we struggle, time drags, and this month is just one long and difficult one to get through. Then we remember that love came down, and that God isn’t constrained by time. We don’t have to understand it to celebrate it.
We embrace the season of waiting, and we keep waiting, long after this dark month in which we celebrate the coming of the Light is over. The pilgrim walk in which, as Frederick Buechner says, we get “messed up in a million ways”, is meant to chafe a bit. The irritation in our shoes reminds us we are simply passing through. We are not home yet.
And so, we draw away from the endless din and lean in to the Divine. We learn to rest in this middle place. We choose not to let the cacophony distract us from the important work. We sit still, we grow silent, and, in awe, we wait.
 Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary: How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life
(A different version of this post was published at Inscribe Writers Online in December 2018.)