Sunday, November 27, 2016

Advent begins today

It is the first day of Advent today. It is a season lasting four Sundays leading up to Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord, both to celebrate his coming as Immanuel 2000 years ago but more so, the eager anticipation of the second coming of the Lord in glory, his parousia. It symbolizes the present situation of the church in these last days as we await his return to take his place in the eternal kingdom.1

With this, I meditate on Psalm 42:1-2 and 63:1-8 on this first day of Advent this year: 

As the deer pants for streams of water, 
so my soul pants for you, my God. 
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When can I go and meet with God?

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; 
I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, 
in a dry and parched land where there is no water. 
I have seen you in the sanctuary 
and beheld your power and your glory. 
Because your love is better than life, 
my lips will glorify you. 
I will praise you as long as I live, 
and in your name I will lift up my hands. 
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; 
with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 
On my bed I remember you; 
I think of you through the watches of the night. 
Because you are my help, 
I sing in the shadow of your wings. 
I cling to you; 
your right hand upholds me. 

How do I cultivate and dwell in this longing for God? We need to become the patient, expectant, thirsty people of God. We must, for longer than a moment, see the daily distress of living. Only in view of suffering will we learn to watch for the dawn—and thirst for its merciful rain. To be thirsty for God is in itself a gift.2

In times of contentment, I rarely feel that thirst. What I see as "blessings" of God can ironically be that which draws me away from him. I pray that I will thirst for him like a parched deer that pants for water. And in seeking him, I will be filled with that living water, and only in him will I find life in all I do, in all I am, in all that I find myself in. 

1 "What is Advent?",
2 "Rediscovering Advent", Christianity Today, 2016

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