The Already and Not Yet

 

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I have a confession to make and I’m not proud about it.

I am a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Yes, I know exactly how they are going to pan out about five minutes in. Yes, I understand that there are gaping plot holes in nearly everyone of them. Yes, I get that the writing is terrible—I’m all too aware. But still, it’s a guilty pleasure for my sister and I.

We will watch tons of them each year, looking for both the most ridiculous one, but also, the sweetest one.

But this past weekend, I latched on to the formula—and yeah, I’ve always known there was a formula. There was something oddly familiar about this formula though.

In each one, a big-city woman working in marketing, or advertising, or brand management (this is apparently a bad thing) who has lost sight of her dreams, is thrust in to small-town life where she happens upon a handsome single father and his precocious child. Charmed by both the town and the child, she begins to feel at home, lets down her walls, and rediscovers her childhood dream. In this starry-eyed state, she begins to fall for the single father and he for her. Her oh-so-wrong for her, rich fiancé comes on the scene (they have been separated by winter weather, clerical mix-up, or other forms of hi-jinx) and stirs doubt and maybe conflict between our heroine and single-dad. But all prevails on Christmas eve when the woman and her fiancé decide they are not destined to be together because she loves the small town and wants to pursue origami, or water color painting, or whatever her long-lost aspiration has been. She and single-dad run into each others arms, share a kiss, and precocious child gets a puppy. The end.

These movies are fun to watch, but they are so not about Christmas. Not really. For all the obvious reasons, but also for some not-as-obvious ones as well.

We have an inherit sense of how things are supposed to be—how we so desperately want them to be. Just like in a Hallmark movie, we want everything to be tied up in a nice little bow in the next hour and a half.

No threads left untied, no relationship not brought to rights, no issues outstanding.

But this is not reality.

Advent marks a celebration. Years of anticipation resulting in a savior being born to a world so desperately in need of him. And yet it also marks a deep longing.

We are brought face to face with the knowledge that all is taken care of. Our fate is sealed—we are rescued and renewed. And yet, we are not yet.

This is a season in which we are to be more aware of the already-but-not-yet state of our existence. This place where we live covered in righteousness, and yet still so in need of grace. This place where we watch brokenness pressing in on all sides, knowing that wholeness is there to be had, but not quite yet.

May you find the space to mourn what is not yet and to find joy in what has been freely given already.

Have a blessed Advent season here in the Already but Not Yet.

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