Awaiting a Promise
“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed.” — Joshua 23:14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
I’m a Game of Thrones fan. I read 3 books, I walked away because I didn’t think the series would ever get finished (I’ll tell you about my theory of George RR Martin syndrome sometime), watched one season of the TV series on HBO before Season 2 got away from me in the life I had before DVR and on-demand access. I read many recaps, though, because a dear friend writes really awesome ones for her job, and I want to support her. Then, this summer, my wife said “let’s give it a try.” I wasn’t sure we’d make it through the first episode, TBH, but she loved it and there we were, binging seven seasons and trying to figure out who The Prince That Was Promised really is (and whether High Valyrian mistranslation meant a misgendering of the one who has been foretold.)
In the world of GoT, many people are awaiting the Prince That Was Promised. Some are waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy; some are waiting for it to be disproved. Whether they believe someone is coming in their lifetime or not, they are waiting for Something to happen.
As Advent begins, we’re waiting for Something That Was Promised as well. We set apart this time to focus ourselves on waiting. But what are we waiting for? Certainly, we can say we’re waiting is for a Promise that is two-fold. We await the infant whose birth we commemorate on Christmas Day, while simultaneously also preparing for the Second Coming of Christ, for our creeds declare that Jesus will come again — in glory — judge the living and the dead.
I’ll be honest — sometimes this Two-Fold Waiting game feels too abstract. While accompanying texts of Advent and the narrative of the Nativity walk us rather neatly to a conclusion that we act out in plays, perform for our communities with live animals, commemorate with scenes both elegant and kitschy, the Second Coming Part is decidedly less concrete, yet no less yearned for. So what’s the big deal? What, exactly, are we hoping for when we’re hoping for the Promise to be fulfilled?
I made a list. I’m checking it twice (and really, honestly — so many times now) and I think this Advent is a good time to explore this Hope, this Yearning for Something Promised.
In the meantime, here’s a little music to get you in the mood of considering what we’re waiting for.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by Red Mountain Church