A few weeks ago I received a book in the mail, via Amazon. This is not unusual. I may have a teeny little habit that manifests itself in the not so occasional arrival of books on my porch. So I opened this new box with expectancy. What would it be? Kyle was there to hear me say it. Hmm. I don’t remember ordering this one. Oh well. I started reading anyway.
A week or so later, two thirds of the way through the book, and I get this text from a friend. Awkward question… Did you get my birthday gift? From Amazon?
That explains it! The book is from Bev. Thanks, friend.
Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. The book is a tear-jerker. Its author a Montana pastor whose little daughter died at the age of five. And I knew I’d entered the story the night we shopped for Christmas lights at Menards and a dark-eyed little girl at the store made me think of Lenya.
Near the end of the book Pastor Lusko talks about nostalgia, and I like what he says. It resonates deep with my Advent thoughts.
He starts with this:
“Nostos is the Greek word for “return home,” and algos means “pain.” Return home + pain = discomfort you feel when longing to get back to your home. Nostalgia is a bittersweet longing for the past, the sentimental, wishful feeling you get thinking of happy days gone by… It’s the way you feel watching a certain movie at the holidays or baking something from a recipe your mom used when you were growing up.”
And then a few paragraphs later:
“The interesting thing about spiritual homesickness is that it’s not actually a desire to go back to a place where we used to live. It’s an aching for a place where we will live one day. What we have is a case of future nostalgia: we’re homesick for a place we’ve never been.”
And that, for me, is Christmas.
Nostalgia. I’m a sucker for it. The F in my INFJ is my strongest score by far, and Christmas proves it. Every feeling heightened in this beautiful aching longing most wonderful time of year – and I’m all in. Tradition abounds. All five senses matter. Savoring counts.
But this Christmas there’s been something more. From the first days of Advent. A stirring. For more.
Come, Jesus, come.
It’s the cry of Advent, and we’re usually content to quench our longing at the manger. The baby arrived that very first Christmas. He came. But I heard someone say this, and I’ve always remembered. He is the God who came and keeps on coming.
It makes so much sense. Especially this Christmas. A season of change, looking back and looking forward. What was and what is. We’re doing things we’ve always done with boys who have never done them. Walking the fine line between letting go and hanging on. And all the time longing for something that’s never been.
These past three weeks I’ve prayed it often. Jesus, come. Come now. Come soon. Come again, this Christmas.
For the creation waits (and groans) with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19 & 22