For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Morning of buttered toast;
of coffee, sweetened, with milk.
Out the window,
snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.
Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.
A single cardinal stipples an empty branch—
one maple leaf lifted back.
I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;
over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:
Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.
Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,
not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured; not-yet-
I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,
I ask him only to stay.
~Jane Hirshfield “Not Yet”
To wait for the “not yet” is a hard sweet tension in the Christian life.
It is hard not yet having what we know will be coming.
But it is sweet to have certainty it is coming
because of what we have already been given.
Like the labor of childbirth,
we groan knowing what it will take to get there,
and we are full to brimming already.
The waiting won’t be easy;
it will often be painful to be patient,
staying alert to possibility and hope when we are exhausted,
barely able to function.
Others won’t understand why we wait,
nor do they comprehend what we could possibly be waiting for.
Yet we persevere together, with patience, watching and hoping,
like Mary and Joseph,
like Elizabeth and Zechariah,
like the shepherds,
like the Magi of the east,
like Simeon and Anna in the temple.
This is the meaning of Advent:
we are a community groaning together in expectation of what is to come in the morning.
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved,
In quiet and in trust your strength lies.