Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trying On Advent - Fourth Sunday

Waiting for the Son of God

Today in reading a morning meditation, I found some telling words written by Henri Nouwen,
We often experience our time as empty.  We hope that tomorrow, next week, next month or next year the real things will happen. But sometimes we experience the fullness of time.  That is when it seems that time stands still, that past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are; and that God, we, and all that is have come together in total unity.   This is the experience of God's time.  "When the completion of the time came [that is: in the fullness of time], God sent his Son, born of a woman" (Galatians 4:4), and in the fullness of time God will "bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth" (Ephesians 1:10).   It is in the fullness of time that we meet God.” 
Throughout this Advent series, I have related the waiting of Advent to my observations in raising monarch butterflies.  The transformation of the monarch butterfly is a story of hope in waiting.  Where, as Nouwen says, “the past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are…”  In the case of the monarch, that’s the seed, the caterpillar, the chrysalis, the butterfly.  All are one, reperesented in different forms.  But, it has not come into the fullness of time yet.  And so we wait, even when it turns black and death appears imminent. 

There are moments in Advent where we must be still and wait; moments to be sorrowful for what was; and, moments to rejoice in hope for what is to come.  It too is a story of hope in waiting.  Likewise, my life is a story of hope in waiting.  Christ in me, the hope of glory.  There will be more seasons of my life where I must wait, unsure of what is to come.  There will be more seasons that come suddenly as unexpected, unwelcome changes force me to find a new normal.  And there will be more seasons of celebration and joy. 
Regardless of the catalyst for change, what week of Advent we are in, or what stage of transformation either the monarch or I am in, He is present in all of it.  He is present.  Yes.  He is the present.  As Nouwen writes, we are deeply blessed when we
 “experience the fullness of time.  That is when it seems that time stands still, that past, present, and future become one; that everything is present where we are… and God and we, and all that is have come together in total unity.”  

The Word, The Baby, The Messiah, The King.  He is present… all at the same time, represented by different forms.   This is the story of hope in waiting… hope in transformation.  It is the story of Him who was and is, and is to come… all at the same time.
…and in the fullness of time God will bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth" (Ephesians 1:10).

So, we wait in longing for the Son of God, who was the infant Christ child; and is our Savior; and who will come again as King.  The monarch butterfly, who must wait in its chrysalis form, is a symbol of joyous expectation even though it must endure changing from a glorious jade green to the blackest form.  What appears to die, will be transformed into new life in the resurrection.  Like Christ did, like the monarch butterfly does, like I will some day. 
Come, Lord Jesus.

5 comments:

  1. The fullness of time.

    Thanks for sharing this Nouwen quote, and at this particular time.

    (And, as always, I'm always wrecked by your butterflies.)

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  2. I remember the black chrysalis stage when my kids raised their Monarchs. Seeing these pictures, paired with your words, gave me a really helpful visual. Now I'll remind myself that, when I'm in a black chrysalis stage, hope is near. Well done, friend.

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  3. Thank you for visually enhancing this message.

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  4. what a beautiful, inspiring post!!!!!

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