Waiting together, nurturing what has already begun, expecting its fulfillment--that is the meaning of marriage, friendship, community, and the Christian life.”
If any season is meant for “waiting for what we have already seen,” it’s Christmas. We’ve seen the hope of Jesus, the life we’ve been offered and now we wait together and nurture in each other what has already begun. This season of anticipation reminds us that just as our Savior already came to us as a baby, Emmanuel, He’s coming again. So we wait, expecting the fulfillment of this promise.
And as we enter this season, a particular piece of this quote guides me--the idea of offering a space. I’m asking myself who is in this space with me already and how we are committing to invite others into it.
Offering this space is so much more than inviting someone to a Christmas party or a church service (although those things could surely be part of the equation!). Our conversations, our workplace interactions, life in our neighborhoods, our dinner tables--these are all spaces to be stewarded well this season.
This Christmas, could followers of Jesus be known for our space-making, our eager anticipation of this life to come?
Could we make space for those who don’t yet know what they are waiting for...
for those who have grown too tired of waiting because they had no one waiting with them...
for those who have been told this waiting is not for them--they don’t look/act/feel/live the way that makes them worthy to wait with us...
As I lean into the idea of space-making this year, I think of shared meals where I’ve felt welcome and at home, when a group has made me feel included and loved. And I recall times when I’ve felt like a burden or as though I’ve been invited out of obligation. The difference has nothing to do with how beautiful the venue, how intricate the food or how gifted at small talk the hosts are. No, the difference is felt in the posture of the heart of those I’m joining. Extravagant meals that are mostly about proving the host’s worth, showing off all they have and know--these meals are not those where space is made. But a late-night conversation over fast food where everyone is able to share their burdens, the weight of the waiting--these are spacious and full of life.
Can we have beautiful gatherings that offer space? Of course! But if our meals, our families, our places of worship as Christian community are more focused on proving our worth-of making it clear that we know what we know-I fear we will have missed the joy of offering space to those who need it. And we all need it.
This Christmas may we all help create, discover for ourselves, or work to expand the beautiful space that is a community who has seen Him and knows He is worth the wait!
Director, The Spero Project