At Tokyo Lutheran Church, Yushi and I change the banner from Pentecost Green to Advent Purple (as opposed to Advent Blue which is what I’m more familiar with). During the 11:00 service, I find myself thinking about Advent and about waiting. I laugh as I begin a rather lengthy monologue:
“What am I waiting for?
(1) I am waiting for homesickness. So far I haven’t suffered from this ailment. However, everyone here has told me that it hits hardest during the holiday season. I’m waiting in anticipation for it to strike me and leave me crippled. The only trigger I’ve noticed is Christmas music. When I listen to it I either get sad or start to laugh. It’s sad because it reminds me of nights at home in front of the fireplace with snow gently falling outside - none of these are here. It makes me laugh because Christopher hates it and because of the time that Manda pointed out a weird horn noise in one of our Mannheim Steamroller albums. However, this homesickness is much milder than what has been explained to me. So I wait…
|* Oh, Christmas Music... *|
(2) I am waiting for comprehension. “It’ll just click!” That’s what people have told me again and again. I leave class everyday feeling like I think I learned something, but then get out into the world and I’m suddenly not so sure anymore. We’ve been in class for 2 months and I can’t seem to understand the most basic parts of the language. When will this “click” happen? Will it happen soon? If I never really had a “click” in Spanish, does that mean I won’t get one in Japanese? So I wait…
|* Take away the English and I wouldn't be able to understand... no "click" here *|
(3) I am waiting for a semi-permanent change. In March, language classes will end and I’ll move down to Kumamoto where I’ll spend the next 2 years of my life teaching in a junior high and/or high school. This change is both welcome and dreaded. Welcome because then I’ll begin what I’ve been called here to do. Dreaded because I’ll be leaving all the people I’ve come to know and love. So I wait…
|* Just some of the people in Tokyo that I've fallen in love with *|
This waiting business is hard. I think I’m a fairly patient person. However, I fear that all of this anxious waiting has made me impatient. I need to learn patience again and to remember that waiting is part of the journey. While waiting, I can prepare. I can prepare to conquer homesickness, to bask in the glory of understanding, and to live in the present with those whom I love. As I prepare for all these things, I will also prepare my heart and mind for Christmas. I will prepare my heart and mind for Christ’s coming.
Advent is a season of hope, repentance, watchfulness, preparation, expectation, and anticipation. I can check all of those off my mental list as I live each day and experience each of those feelings.”
And when that thought goes through my mind, I come to and realize that the service is nearing the end. I leave the solitude of my mind and join others in worship and waiting. I love it when my life coincides with the church calendar.
|* Christmas is good, but don't forget to enjoy Advent too! *|