Advent Meditation on Longings Fulfilled

We don’t always wait in vain. Faith and patience inherit the promise. Sometimes  we get a holy hint of what is to come.

My first and long-awaited grandchild was born in June . Yesterday , as I sat gazing at a photo of her, anticipating her first visit to California for Christmas, I was struck by its great significance. In the picture, Summer Adelle is being proudly held by her great-grandfather. My dad is a crusty old Swede, a sailor whose relationship with strong drink shaped my world. But God does hear the cry of a daughter’s heart, and finally, at the age of 85, he chose sobriety over certain death. Now he is a different man, whose eyes are clear and whose arms are strong, strong enough to hold this little precious baby girl.

A few months after little Summer came into the world, I also gave birth to my own “first- born” book – Living CrossWise, a memoir and Bible study on navigating transition, in part through the nurture of intergenerational relationships.

Although I have spent my whole life seeking my father’s approval, as I was writing this book, I did not anticipate that he would ever read it because he was neither sober nor lucid. This actually freed me up to tell the real story in the chapter that includes my testimony. I was quite open and vulnerable as I shared the depth of the pit from which Jesus had pulled me.

I lost sleep the night before I mailed the book to my parents and, in light of the fact that he was now of sound mind, I actually considered taking a razor to that chapter before sending it to him.

But God always does more that we can even think or imagine and after Pop read it, he told me for the first time in my life that I had done a good job at something, He actually said, out loud, that he AGREED with it and, further, that knew that the Good Lord was taking care of him. He told me that since he was as the oldest in our family, he would probably be the next to go, but that he knew that he would be upstairs with God watching and waiting for me. Waiting and watching.

So, for me, it was the holiest of moments to sit in the glow of the Christmas tree holding a picture of these two whom I love so intensely and so differently, and to think back on a year when so many longings have been fulfilled.

A father, a long-awaited child: Longings fulfilled.

Echoes of Bethlehem. Hints of Heaven. Hope is alive – Merry Christmas!

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