Monday, December 8, 2014

A perpetual state of advent

I'm strolling the sides of a riverbank, scanning tall grasses for signs of heron, or the skies for eagles. I always come to this park east of Seattle, with its acres of off-leash dog park mingling with trails of bird sanctuary, for soul breaths. It's the best of two worlds, dogs and birds. I love them both, as I love the water and the forests and the marshy reeds beside the river.  The song that's been thrumming in my heart all week, comes out my mouth as I walk along, alone.

O Savior, rend the heavens wide
Come down, come down with mighty stride
Unlock the gates, the doors break down
Unbar the way to heaven's crown

I find comfort in familiar outdoor sanctuaries, during a season of growth and change, where my internal landscape is anything but familiar. During this season of Advent, where what's familiar no longer feels a comfort. Even as I'm making peace with spiritual tension, I sometimes long, in moments of tiredness, to climb back into the lap of where I've come from and curl up in warmth, knowing full well I would not find there the embrace I crave.

So I swallow gulps of fresh December air. Of mulch and dog and river. And I talk to God, singing as I meander through the deserted parts of the park.

O Morning Star, O Radiant Sun
When will we sing your morning song?
Come, Son of God, without your light
We grope in gloom and dark of night 

I marvel, at how nothing really feels the same in me, in this season. At how expansively we can change, and how we don't determine our paths entirely, and how the unexpected, the "nevers" of life, can sometimes beautify our stories, like lines burrowed into a face. 

And how those of us who find ourselves daily caught between What Was and What is Yet to Come, between the old and the new, are living in a perpetual state of advent. That middle place, where tension resides, is advent.

We are perfectly positioned in this tension for the birth of Christ to break into our lives - yet again, or for the first time - not in spite of, but especially because, we are profoundly aware of being in process and are choosing to wait here, where there are few comforts.

And so I pray a prayer I keep returning to, Christmas season or not - "Be born in me, again." 

Be born in our world, again.

There shall we all our praises bring
Ever to you, our Savior King
There shall we laud you and adore
Forever and forever more

Linking up with the community of Unforced Rhythms, hosted this month at Beth's blog, where she wrote a beautiful piece on peace and advent this week.

Also, linking up with Heather at EO for Just Write. 

For last week's advent post, read here.  


  1. "Be born in me, again." Do you know that's one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard? I'm going to pray it myself tonight. For indeed, I want Him to make all things new in me. To teach me to walk through this season of difficult circumstances and unfamiliar paths of emotions. To rest in His ways.


    1. I can't take credit for this prayer, Sharon - I heard it in a song. But I agree, it's one of the most beautiful prayers I've heard, too. Grateful for the "new" he births in us and the ways he is ever faithful to show us how to walk these unfamiliar paths, through difficult circumstances. Peace to you, friend.

  2. Amber, I really like this. While this time in our lives (I am "there" too, in the unknowing") fits the advent season - the waiting - the longing, isn't all of life and "advent." Rarely do we "know", but we think we do and most of the time we don't and being ok with this very thing is the challenge, is it not. Thank you for this.

    1. You're absolutely right, Carol. All of life, of being human, is its own advent. I felt that as I was writing and didn't find a good way to elaborate. Maybe because, while that's so true, there are ways I'm discovering of living deeper into this with eyes and heart wide open to the unknown. It's a given, and it's also a conscious, daily choice to remain here and "be ok" with the tension. It is a challenge, for sure. Your presence and words shared here are a comfort to me, as I know you get this, from your own experience right now. So thank you. Love and peace to you.