“We will feast and weep no more”

“When I am a grownup, I want to go to God’s house and have tea.” Jem announced recently over breakfast. It was before 8 in the morning, but even I could see the low-hanging fruit of this theological teaching moment.

“You know, God has invited us to his house. One day we are all invited to come over, not just for tea but for a giant party. It will be a wedding feast for Jesus and all of God’s people.”

The kids were suitably impressed but quickly moved on to more pressing matters of conversation, like “Do we HAVE to do school work today?” and “Is Robin Hood a real person?”

But this picture of the feast at God’s house has stuck with me.

It’s easy to think Heavenward in the midst of tragedy– when I hear about the Paris bombings or the Planned Parenthood videos or the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa, “Come, Lord Jesus!” is usually the only thing I can think to pray (at least at first).

But what if I could sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, look at my plate loaded with all manner of delicious simple carbohydrates and my table surrounded by loved ones, and think–this is just the appetizer! Come, Lord Jesus, and take us all to the real feast!

Now the feasting is on a brief hold and we’re in Advent, a season of waiting, of expectation, of hope. But hope for what? We celebrate the Incarnation and glory in the scandal of God made flesh and laid in a manger. But our hope is not only that Jesus came, it’s that he’s coming, again.

For that child, so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heaven above
And he leads his children on
To the place where he has gone
(“Once in Royal David’s City”)

The word feels very dark to me right now, which is why it’s such a perfect gift each Sunday to get to light one more candle. Each week, another tiny flickering flame pushes the darkness back a little farther. Don’t be afraid of the dark, it reminds me. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And one day, one glorious day, all shall be light. The feast is coming!

IMG_0592

(Not my actual Advent wreath but an old photo from the archives.)

I’m piping in the carols as usual for this time of year (this year’s favorites are my Josh Groban holiday station on Pandora and the Piano Guys’ A Family Christmas album, which is free through Amazon Prime!). My other favorite song right now is not a Christmas carol at all, but it pairs nicely with both my holiday exuberance and my post-news hour angst, reminding me that the best joys are yet to come:

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast, and weep no more.

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