Reality and Advent

Hi, everyone!  It’s been awhile since I posted.  Things have happened in our lives, but to be honest, part of me doesn’t want to think or talk  about it.  But, friends and family, you deserve to at least know a part of it.  After all, the people that I enjoy  being with the most are the ones that admit to low points – not just the Pinterest-perfect highs.  So here goes…

Nathan is NOT getting the job that we thought he would be getting, and we’re not moving.  When he filled out the application for the police academy, he answered the questions as honestly as he could including the question about drug use.  (He has never taken illegal drugs.)  During the polygraph for the police application process, the polygrapher asked him whether he has ever used prescription drugs that were not his.  He, again, answered honestly, “Yes,” and explained the situation in which it occured.  The polygrapher wrote a few notes and said that he didn’t think it would be a problem.  Fast forward about three weeks and we hadn’t heard from the police chief for awhile, so Nathan emailed him to see how things were going with his application.  (He had been given an unofficial offer of employment.)  Turns out that prescription use that wasn’t thought to be a big deal actually WAS a big deal – a very, very big deal.  The police chief appealed the decision.  Nathan wrote a letter explaining the situation.  Anyways, long story short, Nathan is ineligible for police work for the next 10 years and corrections work for the next 3.

Yes, that small gut-punch you felt, multiply it by 10 and that’s the underlying emotion in our house right now.  (Sometimes it’s more than x10.)

This news couldn’t have come with more (or less) perfect timing.  You see, it’s the Christmas season and everywhere I look, I see trees, lights, and happiness.  To be honest, the idea of celebrating and putting up decorations is slightly repulsive.  (And if you understand the Christmas child that I am, you understand that statement for what it is.)  The beauty of Christmas stands in stark contrast to what we are experiencing right now.

One of the few comforting things that I can think of is that it’s not Christmas yet.  It’s Advent; and historically, Advent was a dark time.  Imagine what it felt like for Israel and for the world, really, to groan for the Messiah.  Imagine what it felt like to be a nation that had lost their autonomy.  Their religion, their finances, their trade was under the rule of a foreign government and it seemed that Messiah would never come.  “O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom  captive Israel,” – right?  Humanity was in the clutches of Sin with no hope.  Complete darkness, yearning, a keening of the soul that cries for redeeming.

And then, hope: God is with us.  He doesn’t come with an army to rescue Israel.  He doesn’t part the skies and kick the Enemy into the abyss.  He comes as a baby; and for awhile, there is still no rescue.  Instead, God is with us… in our pain, in our longing.  He takes part in our broken humanity.  He cries at the grave of a friend.  He exhausts himself taking on our infirmities.  This is what gives me comfort – the belief that God is with us.  God is with our family suffering our pain with us.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

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