Psalms 80:18-19
                                                    "Revive us...
                                                           Restore us, O Lord God Almighty."

                                       I Corinthians 1:7-8
                                                    "As you eagerly wait...
                                                       He will keep you strong."

Isaiah 64:1-9
"As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil, come down...
We shrivel up like a leaf...
We are the clay, You are the Potter;
Oh, look upon us!
No one has heard, no ear perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him."

Mark 13:33-36
"Be alert!  Keep watch!
If He comes suddenly, do not let Him find you sleeping.

"Revive us, O Lord!"
Advent is a time in which we recognize our true need.
We become aware that our righteous is as filthy rags.
We become aware that apart from Him, we are nothing.
Without His presence or grace, we fail: we whither away.
Any effort on our part falls short.  We find how miserable we truly are.

And from this place of emptiness, we begin to cry out.
We realize if God does not "come down," we will whither away.
We wait.
This waiting is not passive, though.  
It is a waiting filled with watching, awareness, looking.
We wait with our ears and our eyes.
A travail grows within our souls as we wait.
"Restore us, O Lord."
The sorrow we feel heightens our intensity of watching.

Unless we are kindled with fire from some
act of God's grace, we sense darkness around us deepening.
We grope to find our way.
We can't see clearly.
In the waiting, there is darkness.  We don't know the way.

"As we eagerly wait, He keeps us strong."
As we sink into deeper depths of weakness and confusion,
the darkness grows.  Yet He is still beside us.
Our "calling out" intensifies further.
His presence cools our worried brows and suffering hearts.
We wait patiently for His coming.

We awaken to the fact that
"He is the Potter and we are the clay."
He is the Shaper.  His hands are skilled in fashioning His pleasure.
We are the unpliable.
We are in such darkness.  We need the touch of His loving hand.
We wait and slowly give up our resistance to His gentle passion.
Revive us O Lord!  Restore us O Lord!

Advent is a time of stark awareness to our condition of darkness,
a calling out, a time of waiting and listening.
It is a time to prepare our hearts,
to turn away from our in-grown propensities,
and lift up our heads.
This is a time to receive the angel,
to hear the annunciation,
to be willing to follow along,
to receive the conception of the Holy Spirit,
to carry new life, care for a growing womb,
and enter into the stormy travail.

Can you find yourself somewhere in Advent today?
What particular path of Advent are you traversing at this moment?
At some level, Advent is always present within our lives.

Come Holy Spirit, kindle me.
Soften the cords of my heart and enlarge me.
Help me to let go,
to soften, and yield to Your loving hands.
Oh, that I would be lost in You again.
Restore me, revive me...
I wait for Your spark, Your touch.
I am watching!
Come, Lord Jesus.