Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus, come. This is and ancient prayer of the church especially at this time of year. Advent, as we all know, is all about preparing for the coming of Christ. We prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas but we also prepare for the coming of the Christ.

 

I have reflected a lot on the last few days as I have prayed. I have been reflecting on what exactly that means. You see we inevitably associate this time of preparation with getting ready with ribbons and bows, with lights and trees, with dinners and parties, all in celebration of “the baby Jesus.” It is for most a good news story indeed.  It occurred to me that expectation and waiting for the divine and the holy is not always about “good news” and for many that makes this time of year a very difficult time. It occurred to me that even on my own journey I have at times prayed for the presence of God in the midst a difficult periods of waiting and expectation. At this time of year let us pray for those who await the presence of God even when it is painful.

 

Today there are people who are fighting impossible financial odds. In the midst of all that many of them are feeling pressure this Christmas to buy for kids and buy for family and friends. Mortgages seem impossible to pay for some.  Some are jobless in the midst of the many changes that are taking place in our local and global economy. For all those people who are praying for the presence of God we pray – Come Lord Jesus, Come and provide for all who are in need!

 

Today there are people who wait for loved ones to return from dangerous missions in far off lands. Young men and women have been called to serve in places that most would never choose to go to. Moms and Dads and Brothers and sisters and wives and husbands , partners and children are waiting for Jesus in the presence of their loved one who is living with the noise and violence of war….And far away in the desert sands of a living hell, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads long Jesus in the form of their mothers and fathers, their wives and husbands and children. In the context of their lives the words from Isaiah take on new meaning.  

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!”

Come Lord Jesus, Come bring peace to the nations of the earth!

 

Today caregivers sit at the bedside of God’s children and offer love and care and tenderness. They wait in pain and sorrow for an inevitable end.  To them, ‘thy kingdom come’ means more today than it did yesterday. The very idea if waiting for the return of light and hope means something completely different in this very painful context. The caregiver weeps as the dying sleep and the prayer that goes out remains “How long, O Lord, How long?”  

Come Lord Jesus, and allow your own to dwell today in your paradise.

 

Today a family sits with all that they own in a small bag or box. Uniformed persons will decide if they can safety or if they must go. They have no home. They have left the violence and desolation of their “homeland” behind in hopes of being embrace by a ‘kinder gentler nation.’ Can they stay? Will they find safety? Come Lord Jesus, Refugee and be present to those who seek homes.

 

Today a man sits in prison for a crime he did not commit. Another sits on death row waiting for a cruel end. On the cross that day so long ago, on a hillside in Calvary, you looked into the face of a criminal and said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Come Lord Jesus, and set the captive free.  

 

I could go on but I think we get the picture. This is not meant to be melancholic, more to be aware, compassionate, and responsive. We are in the midst of a season which embraces waiting for the presence of God. Let us together pray that God would be with all those who so desperately are waiting – those who may be like the Jew who fleeing Nazis and the death camps stopped long enough to inscribe these lines on a wall –

 

I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine.

I believe in love, even when I am alone.

I believe in God, even when he silent.   

 

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

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