I'm a few days late offering this, but it will be easy to catch up if you find this useful or interesting. This is an advent countdown of sorts I put together a few years ago. It is composed of texts and thoughts about the themes of advent: anticipation, expectant waiting.
Officially advent began November 29th, 27 days before Christmas. In this countdown I did an entry to read and ponder for each day. The word count or each days's entry reduces by one as you progress through the countdown. For example, on the November 29th entry the number of words is 27. On December 25th, there is just one word.
An Advent Countdown of Thoughts and Texts
“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings...” A curtain closes and a 400-year wait begins. (Malachi 4:2)
And the Psalmist’s words resonate. “We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” (Psalm 74:9)
But the prophet’s words seemed to carry with them a certain imminence. Are hope and despair endpoints on a common scale that tips with time?
“I’m homesick—longing for your salvation; I’m waiting for your word of hope. My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise...” (Psalm 119:81-82)
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun (Here Comes The Sun. The Beatles.)
Waiting as part of community seems more heartening and anticipatory than waiting in solitude, where it can take on a certain dreadfulness.
“To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.” (Flannery O'Conner)
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.” (Romans 8:22a. The Message.)
“The experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
What was that about being “despised and rejected”? Isn’t that incongruous with the image of the promised redeemer?
Who can pretend to empathize with the nine-month waiting of a pregnant and unmarried, teenage virgin?
Wonder like a child whose expectancy is untainted by the disappointments and broken promises of yesterday.
Did those who were waiting ever picture dirt floors, straw and the smell of animals?
The stuff of expectancy: name choice, nursery colors, and shower registry somehow seem superfluous.
Anticipation can be so sweet when you’ve heard the angel say, “Fear not!”
“These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.” (Romans 8:23)
Fresh bread and rich wine prove the sensory power in anticipation.
Now bread and wine remind us as we wait again.
The poetry of longing: yearning, ache, burning, hunger, thirst
It’s already settled. His name will be Jesus.
Remind us again what the angel promised.
Anticipation’s counterpoint is often-times anxiety.
“Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” (a hymn by Charles Wesley)
“a Man of Sorrows” (Isaiah 53.3)
Prince of Peace