I've been waiting a long time.
This week I turn 31. There is a period of life when you want to be older than you are, where you add "and half" or "almost" before or after your stated age. I have passed that period. Now I just state it plainly: 30. This week 31. There are many things in my life I wanted to accomplish by age 30 and never even considered that they wouldn't be accomplished by 31. But, here we are, with only four days left to complete that bucket list.
I think I'll still be waiting after this week. Age, to God is a small thing. He chose kings at eight years old and gave babies to 100 year olds. He is not surprised by the script of my life, nor the trajectory of my timeline. One day is as a thousand years and a thousand years are as one day.
But every December I grow pregnant with wait.
While children are baited with wrapped boxes under Douglas firs and Honeys are held in suspense over whether they'll get what they've hoped for all year, I am grown heavy with wait.
Perhaps it is because my birthday is so close to Christmas, I don't know. The passing of time feels heavier the older I get. I feel that ache, that expectation, that hope for something more so acutely. I even dare ask for it, scrawling my Christmas List to God with paltry prayers and asks. I want to be the child who asks for what I need and what I want, but I'll be honest--31 years of waiting for some things feels overwhelmingly impossible.
Ruth, she knew the waiting. She laid her waiting at the feet of her kinsman redeemer. A shocking act of obedience.
Jesse, her grandson, he knew the wait. The Messiah would come through him. But surely not through the youngest? The dirty shepherd?
David, his son, he knew the wait: 13 years of waiting between his anointing and his throne sitting.
And still no Messiah.
I feel that sometimes. I feel that hopelessness of putting my expectation in what was said and not Who God Is.
We hear "Rod of Jesse's Stem" and we think, surely here is the Messiah, from Jesse? But no, Messiah doesn't come for hundreds of years and when He comes, He comes in quiet, in brokendown places, to brokendown impossibilities. Surely the answer of mankind is not this?
This Christmas, this birthday, I am learning this: my expectation cannot be in a name or a plan, a list or an ask. It cannot be in a deadline or in a certainty of timeline. It is in a Person.
Last night at my church we learned that the door to hope is hopelessness and that hope has a name, Jesus Christ. And I wake this morning, stretching my legs, stretching my heart, asking: be here, Hope. Be my confidence, Hope. Be my joy, Hope. Be my trust, Hope. Be all that I need, Hope.
Take as long as you need, Hope, because I trust that what You say will be accomplished and Your mighty power will bring salvation and victory, but it will also bring the small things, the small joys, the small answers. Hope, You are trustworthy because You have a name and You are not just the expectation of what a box contains or what a list asked for. You are a person and You have come and will come.
And You are worth all of my hope in the meantime.
Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From every foe deliver them
That trust your mighty power to save;
Bring them in victory through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!