Watching. Gazing intently at this flickering light. It is a light that at times appears so feeble it sometimes seems that it could be extinguished by a whisper.
At times we blow gently, hoping the light will flare up and blaze forth to push out the darkness. At other times we hide in the dark, weeping a prayer, desperate not to let our deep, ugly parts be known.
We desire the light and we fear it. This light is love. It is not a weak, self-centered, human love. This is mighty and humble, king and servant, cross- and pain-bearing love.
This is Love who will take that flickering candlelight and fan it into flame that overcomes darkness, even our own. Flame that someday will refine and purify our entire world, purging away dross and imperfection, giving to all of us redeemed perfection results.
And we wait. Wait for Christmas. Wait for Christ. Wait to be known. Wait to be redeemed.
We wait with our breath held. We wait with a labored kind of waiting, waiting with pregnant hope for our world to be reborn.
And while we wait, we work. We serve. We keep our eyes fixed on that flickering light.
We still weep and fear, but more than that, we love. We can love through our fear because we who wait have seen the end. And this fearful love that will destroy our world and even our very selves will bring out of the ashes a world and a self that is truer and more beautiful than any we could have imagined. Love Himself will bring us through.
And the waiting will be over.
There are wild things just beyond the creche. Pry loose an Advent candle from its round wreath and walk straight past the doe-eyed virgin, deeper into the world he was born to save.
Jettison your meekness. Cup your hand over the flame, you’ll be exposed. No, don’t look for a star. Instead listen for the carol of the trees as the wind repeats its sounding joy. You’ll feel more lost than saved but that’s how the prophets say it will feel the closer your journey to the coming arrival.