Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
I live in Nova Scotia, and to be precise, I live on the eastern shore, which is dotted with small fishing villages. The architecture here is often just a tad different from what most people are used to: we have a large number of widow's walks! "What is that?" you say from your distant inland home. What is a widow's walk? Architecturally, the widow's walk is a railed rooftop platform. More legend than reality, it is said that the widow's walk was built especially for the time of waiting, the time of hope and expectation, the time of fulfillment — or just as often, the time of deepest sorrow and distress. Anticipation, mixed with hope and fear, is what a widow's walk is all about.
One of the legends goes like this:
- The faithful and dedicated wife, performing her daily circumambulations on the cold and lonely widow's walk: The next sail to top the horizon may well carry her husband, gone to sea these many years. But not today. The sun sets, bringing to a close her lonely vigil for this day. Perhaps, though, the much-anticipated vision will happen tomorrow and if not tomorrow, the next day." (The Fisherman's Voice)
Advent begins with such anticipation. It is a time of watching and waiting, a time of hope mingled with fear. The ancient prayer of the church is "Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!" Let this Advent season fill you with such hope, such anticipation as you seek to faithfully watch and wait. Jesus' promise to us is faithful:
Revelation 22:20-21 – The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen. (NRSV)
Psalm 25:5 – Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. (NRSV)
- Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
– Charles Wesley