The Psalms of Advent, November 29, 2022
An interesting, and perhaps intentional, aspect about the Psalms of Advent is that there are really only seven of them appointed for this season of preparation. When I first considered this blog, I assumed there would be a different psalm every day, but not so, according to the listing in the Revised Common Lectionary. Each psalm is given three to four days, instead of leading to a new one for a new day. I can’t say for sure what the reasoning is behind that decision, but I will speculate that it illustrates two things about Advent preparation: waiting and anticipation.
Waiting is what the majority of us do not like to do. Instant gratification is our siren call. We love drive-through anything and dinners delivered right to our door. Asking us to wait is an insult to our well-beloved and hoarded time. Waiting can be tiring. We can only tread water for so long. Yet waiting is also a spiritual discipline, no matter what faith we follow. When we wait, we realize that everything isn’t about us and that there truly is little over which we have control, other than how we wait. We can wait with patience and trust or with anger and frustration. Waiting with each psalm intentionally slows us down and gives us the time to attend to the words, to the poetry, to the imagery. Waiting keeps us still for a time, and in that stillness we can listen.
What else happens when we wait? We anticipate the outcome of our waiting. Many times, we wait for something good to happen and that anticipation feels exciting; other times, we wait with a sense of foreboding–for a test result, a goodbye, a change of well-planned dreams, a releasing. For the authors of the Book of Psalms, anticipation was almost a constant in their journey of what would come next. A new king? Another oppressor? Land of their own? A messiah? And so they waited, sometimes faithfully, and sometimes not, just like the rest of us.
In this season of darkness and shadows, what are we waiting for and what are we anticipating? Can we observe how we are waiting? The psalmist tell us “To be still and know that God” is God (Psalm 46:10). Can we trust that God is in the waiting, in the watching, in the anticipation with us? These are the questions I ponder this season, and you are invited to ponder with me or share your own. I would honor hearing them.
Blessings ~ Rosemary