Advent is about longing: about being present—right here, right now—and yet still yearning with all of our being for the presence of God to be so immediately and tangibly with us that we are overwhelmed and consumed. It is a longing of lover for beloved. To our stunned surprise and ecstatic exhilaration, God also longs for us. In fact, our deep longing for God is but the answer of our own anxious heart to the even deeper longing of God for us. Augustine is right: ‘our hearts are restless until they rest in [God].’ That longing which can only be satisfied in God’s embrace helps make sense of the deep restlessness and profound anxiety we experience as we cast about, constantly in search of the one for whom we long with our whole being. Isaiah’s voice is raised up along with ours this first week of Advent, giving sharp and dramatic language to the angst of our heart’s longing. Advent is where these twin longings, intertwined between us and God, between lover and beloved, may at last meet.
Prayer Oh, Beloved, the heart that is made for you, tears itself apart with desperate longing; tear open the heavens, my Beloved, and come to me!