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CCDA Advent -- Anticipation-01

Anticipation

Anticipation. It’s a positive re-frame for the simple fact that we wait for things. We wait in line to buy tea or a snack, we wait for a friend to return a phone call, we wait for our day to end, or our day to begin. We anticipate what’s coming next, and in doing so, we wait. In fact, sometimes we’re so busy waiting, so future-focused, that we miss what is right in front of us. We can miss being present.

Theologically speaking, this is our very life’s tension, isn’t it? Eschatologically speaking, we are both mere mortals, privy to the limitations and parameters of this human life, as well as heavenly citizens. Our true home is not this earthly dwelling place, yet this world is definitely our home for now.  We are bound and boundless. Finite and infinite. Made of gritty earth and yet made of and containers of pure Goodness. Called to be fully present and yet looking forward and upward.


The anticipation which is Advent makes a lot of sense to me personally.  I’m a teacher and a mom. In both contexts, I get to love and work with children who are underdeveloped, not yet fully formed. In relationships with my children and with my students, I get to participate in the yearning that comes with seeing potential not yet realized and goodness not quite gained.  I see students who are already wonderful and smart and skilled, but with gaps that reveal needs and even deficiencies that I can see in my purview, and on most days, feel glad to help fill and support. I see my children who know and love Jesus, but like me, struggle in living what they believe because it is hard to do it all the time – to give over our gritty, earthy selves and allow His presence, transformation, and positive change to be our relentless pursuit. My work at home and at school involves ongoing anticipation and living in the “now” as well as the “not yet.”

This Advent, and every Advent, Jesus gives us the chance to anticipate.  We not only wait on Him and the celebration of His birth as a baby; but also, in the long arc of things, we wait on His coming again to restore the world, making the broken things right again.  He is both our Teacher and Father. He sees our gaps and lovingly assists us to be better, stronger, fuller, and truer.

He gave us and gives us Himself in this process.  Advent is the season before Christmas, when we celebrate God coming down as a human being, as a baby. The mundane miracle. God in full glory and in the banal. Given tri-fold riches in a stable. The Now and Not Yet. He gives us Himself to scaffold us into the better “not yet” that we can be, together with a world that is also “not yet” what He intends for all of creation.

This Advent, let’s echo the prophets Habakkuk (1:2) and Zechariah (1:12), crying out in anticipation: “How long?” Let us be present to the places and people God has called us to.  Yet, let us also be filled with anticipation and waiting, knowing these things fall short of the Good that is to come.  

We wait in solidarity with neighbors across the world who are crying out, ‘How long, Lord, do we have to wait for your justice to come?’

For Native Americans who are protecting their families and their land from the death of environmental contamination and continued betrayal.

How long, Lord, do we have to wait for your justice to come?

For our neighbors living in vulnerable communities, surrounded by violence, excluded from the fruits of our current economy and disproportionately incarcerated.

How long, Lord, do we have to wait for your justice to come?

For Undocumented immigrants who are utilized in our nation as cheap labor without rights and now the targets of draconian deportation policies that will destroy communities and separate families.

How long, Lord, do we have to wait for your justice to come?

For Syrian refugees displaced by the millions, suffering unimaginably because of civil war, with very little hope for a fast resolution to this crisis.

How long, Lord, do we have to wait for your justice to come?

We love you, Jesus. We wait for you. You know our suffering and our longing this Advent. We anticipate the good that you’ve given us to increase.  We co-labor and co-sojourn with the things you are doing in this hurting, broken, not-yet world of ours.  We say “Come, Lord Jesus.”

 

Sunny Sue Chang Jonas is an RTI/MTSS interventionist to support the bottom quartile of 5th-8th grade students in Chicago Public Schools, and is also a mom, wife, sister, daughter and devotee of Jesus and her church, the Hyde Park Vineyard, where she serves in worship and prayer teams. 🙂 She is working on her doctorate in Bilingual Education at Northern Illinois University and has sought to work within CCDA principles for the last 10 years in Education and Ministry.

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