After a national chorus of gratitude, it’s no wonder we begin a season of expecting life. For thankfulness births good things. Today marks the beginning of Advent, the time set a part to anticipate the arrival of a baby that belongs to the whole world. The One born of flesh, but equal with God. The One who was rejected, yet welcomed all of creation. The One who came with wholeness to a broken world who needed Him. This baby was God coming to his people to bring them back to Himself. The days leading up to His birth demand our attention. They ought to captivate our hearts with anticipation, mesmerize our souls with the joy that’s to come….and lead us to the humble places where he is sure to be born. Advent is a little bit like we’re all entering into a 26 day pregnancy…together! It’s a season where we swell with trust and grow in faith. Where we wait in great expectation for Christ to be born into all our present realities. The broken ones. The ugly ones. The embarrassing ones. The hurtful ones. The exciting ones. And this baby, he happens to be the only one worth expecting, the only one who will not disappoint. Jesus, the hope of the Earth. He will always come. But what does this mean for our earthly waiting? Like the things and people we long for. And the expectations we can’t help but form. And the outcomes we hope for. It seems near impossible to eliminate those human responses. If Jesus is the only one worth expecting, what does hoping look like between people? How should we of flesh expect worthy things from one another? Is it possible for flawed people to wait upon flawed people in a way that brings about good? I think of Abraham and how he put more hope in God’s promise of a child, than in the One Himself who would bring about provision. His broken waiting brought conflict as he sought self-fulfillment. I think of Israel and how they waited and waited for their king to come. Yet they put more trust in the flesh than the Father. Their flawed expectations led to infidelity, idol worship and self-reliance, making pain and destruction consistent characters in their story. But God never left Abraham and He never left his chosen people. He sustained them and remained faithful to His promise. Christmas came! And He changed their story forever…and ours. Sometimes God initiates a season of waiting in order to bring about His will in the fullness of time. Like when Sarah prayed for a baby and God opened her womb in his timing, not hers. And sometimes the waiting happens as a result of fallenness. Like when God led his people through the desert to Canaan and right at the border of the promised land, these people God had shown himself faithful to chose fear over trust. It was then that God chose to wander the Israelites through the desert until the unfaithful generation died. And in their wandering and waiting, God continued to reveal himself to his people, in order that his identity would later be made known through them. The broken stories in scripture remind me that not all things happen in God’s timing. Human results and responses aren’t always part of God’s will. This is the reality of a broken world, of human hands and hearts participating with God in the activity of his world. But here’s what my waiting heart needs to remember…and maybe yours does too: God’s will cannot be thwarted. His promises will come to fruition. And he will still accomplish it in a time and manner that bring him glory! Even after human diversions. Even through man’s misunderstandings. Even if his people are slow to take his lead. And so this changes the way we ought to hope, it transforms how we should expect. For even in our human expecting, it still must be Jesus we’re hoping in. He must always be what we’re longing for, in all things, for all things. Not people, not outcomes. Only Jesus. What are you hoping for these days? For what does your heart yearn? What have you waited so long for it hurts? If you’re hoping that your husband will change — instead, hope for Jesus to transform you into his likeness through your marriage covenant, while giving you what you need to endure. He will come. If you’re searching for happiness in a certain lifestyle or maybe in a person — instead, expect Jesus to teach you to be joyful where you are right now. He will come. If you’re waiting for a baby to conceive in you — instead, wait upon the Lord to birth new life in your spirit as you prayerfully submit your will to him. He will come. If you’re longing to discover the heart of your children — instead, chase after the heart of your Creator who uncovers mysteries. He will come. If you’re expecting provision in the form of a new job or increase pay or the sale of a home — instead, expect God to deliver His will and blessing for you. He will come. If you’re waiting for an apology so you can forgive another — instead, expect the One who reconciles to heal your pain with His grace. He will come. If you’re looking for an answer or direction or leading — instead, seek Truth that brings light to all things. He will come. And when God comes, he brings new life. Always. Are you ready for him? For we get to be the humble human dwelling where Jesus is born! So let us wait with greater eagerness. With more intention. With deeper purpose. Let us make room for Christmas in a way we never have before. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You may remember how last year I offered some Advent Conversations to help prepare hearts and homes for the coming of Jesus. These thoughts are an outpouring of my heart as I searched the Lord’s wisdom in how to lead my children into a more intentional celebration of Christmas. It kills me not to be sharing them free this year on my blog! But I’m excited to share with you that Wild & Free is offering my Advent thoughts in their December homeschool bundle called WONDER. Wild & Free is a beautiful homeschool community, who seeks to encourage mothers and families as they intentionally and creatively raise their children to love the Lord and learning and exploring and all things just a little bit wild. Each month, Wild & Free publishes an online magazine of sorts — it’s full of encouraging and creative resources for homeschoolers.