I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The day draws ever nearer, and we, like those who watch for morning, are starting to see the horizon brighten.
I used to work in the hotel industry as a night auditor, and the words of this Psalm resonate with me on very deep level. Many were the times where I would wait and watch for the dawn which was the harbinger of my freedom, a light on the path that would lead me to the comfort of my bed. I know how much I longed for the morning, so I can imagine what the Psalmist is trying to say here about how deeply we are called to long for the Lord.
The season of Advent has been like a long night of work, of preparation, of waiting and of watching. We have taken this time in this season not just to ready our world for the coming dawn, but also to ready our hearts for the in-breaking of God. Because that’s what God is doing, breaking in. God offers us hope that comes with a new dawn to fend off the despair that comes from long nights of loneliness. God offers a peace, a kind that only God can bring, that makes the stillness of the night more comforting and less constricting. In those cold nights of sorrow, God reminds us of the joy that lives and reigns in us, a joy that is born anew this Christmas day. Ultimately God brings love to our hearts, where often we harbour feelings of hate and anger. Just as the stable on Christmas eve cannot remain empty when a woman bearing a child is seeking shelter, neither can hate live long in the manger of our hearts when God is seeking a place. This is because the love of God is stronger than hate.
God’s love is stronger than hate in the same way that light is stronger than darkness. No matter how all-consuming the darkness may feel, it only takes a spark to scatter so many shadows. This is why the dawn never fails to follow even the deepest of nights.
It only takes a spark to lighten the dark. It only takes a child to change our world.
God bless you in the days of celebration that come with the dawning of Christmas. Be safe. Sing loud the carols of praise. Drink deeply of the love that God pours out on the world. May your soul wait no longer.
Rev. Richard Bowley