BY DAWN STARY | December 19, 2018
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Sit quietly for a moment and imagine that you are seated in the hay and the dirt of a barn. It is dark and cold. There are goosebumps running up your arms. Your nose fills with the smell of cows and donkeys and the spilled blood that accompanies new life. Animals chewing their grass lurch back in surprise at the sound of a baby crying. You too are startled by the shrieks a newborn baby can make. Soon the crying subsides as the baby Jesus nestles in and feeds at Mary’s breast. The Christ Child is born, the shepherds begin to enter in, cajoled by the songs of the angels singing. The day has arrived, our Savior has come.
Now, sit quietly again and this time imagine that you are seated on a couch in a small apartment in the suburbs of San Diego. It is nighttime, cold and dark, and your heart is racing. Anxiety is choking you and hot tears roll down your cheeks. Your hands are shaking and you cannot breath. This place is smaller than the home you were forced to flee in the Middle East. You have been waiting 5 years for a resolution to determine if you and your family can stay in the United States or if you will be deported back to Syria. Your toddler child cries—she is the youngest of your brood and the only American citizen, born here after you gathered your belongings, flew to Los Angeles, and began the dreadful misery that is waiting…waiting…waiting.
Isaiah prophesied the coming of Jesus 800 years before the birth of Christ. The Jewish people waited at times with patience, but also with frustration, longing for their savior to come.
Today, hundreds of women, men and children are waiting in the court system hoping for asylum in the United States. Some have waited for years, holding their breath to see if they can stay. Their children grow, the wars at home do not lessen, their anxiety mounts, yet they must wait.
As a pastoral counselor I have sat with many such individuals and families. And so often I am reminded of the Advent season, the season of waiting when I am with my clients. My personal experience of Advent is limited to just 4 weeks—then the joys of Christmas arrive.
Let us remember this Advent season that so many many must wait for years to receive true joy—that so many amongst us pray each day that salvation can once again come, but this time in the form of the U.S. court system saying, ‘Yes, we accept you. You may stay here and continue to seek refuge.’
Dawn Stary has one young child, and since his birth she has learned the true meaning of community; a coming together with like-minded people in space and spirit to grow in new and unexpected ways. Dawn holds a masters degree in pastoral care and counseling from the University of San Diego and a bachelors degree in theology from Loyola University Chicago. She works in community with churches and organizations to promote the spirit and well-being of refugees seeking wholeness and healing in their new home. Dawn enjoys many things but especially writing and finding meaning in thoughtful conversations that help her see the world from new perspectives.
Even in the act of waiting – there is grace waiting to envelop the waiter.