Silence and Longing

I think this is the longest time I’ve been away from my blog . . . ever. In the past month, sometimes it’s been because I’ve got so much going on in my head that I don’t know where to start in writing/processing it all. Other times it’s because nothing is going on in my head, and life is full.

But as we enter into this season of Advent, I began thinking through what I wanted my focus to be this year. Each year I make commitments to “not miss it”; to not get caught up in the rush and stress and truly focus on the birthday celebration of Christ . . . and, of course, I start with good intentions and yet never quite fulfill them.

So in part, to hold myself accountable, and in part, because I love engaging in this sort of virtual community thought process that happens through blogging, I’m going to try to blog through Advent this time.

And here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

If the word “advent” inherently indicates an arrival, or a coming, then what is the significance of the “advent” of Jesus – both back in the manger and in the future return? Why is it important that he actually came here to Earth (and that he will come back)? And what would it really look like to hinge my hope on that fact? To anticipate – moreover, to long for – that advent?

Turns out we’re pondering that through our series at church as well. The four Sundays of Advent are focused on Longing, Anticipation, Waiting, and Joy. I think those words will work well as a frame for my thinking, too.

So here we go. This week I’m going to ponder what it truly means to long for something. Already I’m thinking about the phrases thirst after, yearn for, and faints for.

I’ll leave you today with a song that we sang yesterday morning. Our worship leader changed the wording of the chorus (and the melody a little) to help us experience that frustration, the tension, that occurs when longing is present. It was powerful to feel the longing for resolution in the music, and yet not quite receive it.

O, Come! O, Come Emmanuel!

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

How long? How long? Must we wait for Messiah to come?

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
How long? How long? Must we wait for Messiah to come?

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

How long? How long? Must we wait for Messiah to come?



  1. That is my favorite Christmas song because they theology is so strong. It shows us exactly how God’s people longed for the Messiah and how amazing it was when he came. I read the book Girl Meets God by Lauren Winners and it is about a Jewish woman who converted to Christianity and how joyous she was to realize that her faith had been completed by the Messiah coming in Jesus. It made Christmas and Easter so much fuller for me to realize that longing they had.

  2. marie

    I prefer to just think about the rejoice part…not the longing, anticipation, waiting. Not just about the Advent but other things in life as well. How shallow!!! (: I seem to forget that the longing and anticipation and waiting can potentially create in me a deeper understanding of the joy…if I let it.

  3. spaghettipie

    J – So true. The melody doesn’t give us that resolution, but rather leaves us with the longing. When our worship leader changed the words to the chorus, it was even more difficult to not even get to “rejoice, rejoice.” I love how music can teach us so much.
    M – Agreed . . . we have to let those things doe their work to make the joy that much sweeter and deeper. But how hard!
    BR – I enjoyed Winners’ book for similar reasons – to see all the teaching and traditions of Jewish culture fulfilled in Christ . . . what a true joy and depth of meaning.

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