It’s hard to wait.
This is a truth we know all too well. Waiting for the weekend, waiting for the promotion, waiting for the wedding, waiting for dinner time, waiting for the test results, waiting for the next season, waiting for our kids to grow out of a hard stage, waiting for the baby to come, waiting in the checkout line, waiting in the waiting room, for our computer to power up, for life to slow down, for morning to come.
In all stages in life, it seems we are in a perpetual state of waiting. Whether life is flying by or the days pass slowly, we all know what it feels like to wait. The longing in our waiting hearts can feel exciting or feel more like a dull ache. This is because we live in an “almost, not yet, already” world. We are an in-between people. The waiting in every human heart reminds us we are hard wired to hope, to yearn, and to expect. More than anything, we long to be satisfied…satisfied in a deep, filled-up forever kind of way. We long, we wait, for Jesus.
In Advent (Latin for “coming”), we wait, for the coming of Jesus. My children know, as all children do, how hard it is to wait. To them, the 25 days on the advent calendar seem like an eternity. But, there is beauty and joy in the wait. This Advent, my family is worshipping God in the waiting through the beautiful new album from Rain for Roots called Waiting Songs. Meet the artists and the vision behind behind waiting songs in this video:
Waiting Songs has given my children words to praise God in the waiting. Hearing their young voices sing the song, “Every Valley,”…
There is gonna be a day
Every low valley He will raise
There is gonna be a day
Hills and mountains gonna be made plain
There is gonna be a day
Winding roads gonna be made straight
Comfort, comfort, comfort, comfort
It’s hard to wait
So hard to wait,
…reminds me my children are not born for this world. They are created for eternity with Christ. The longing in their hearts is for Him. How beautiful to show them that waiting points us to Jesus, that Advent is a season of remembering He has come, and is coming again!
Here’s the thing: The songs we sing (Christian or otherwise) form and shape our hearts and our understanding of the world, while painting a picture of what life should be like. The early church summed it up like this, “So we sing and pray, so we believe.” In the midst of this broken world, which we have seen so clearly in recent weeks, these songs help me teach our kids what the longing in their hearts is for and what they are waiting for. In “Come Light Our Hearts” Sandra McCracken sings,
O Joy above all other loves
In you we find more than enough
We come as we are, O heal and restore
Come light our hearts
These lyrics, these spiritual truths, take root in our children’s hearts (and in our hearts) to help us all have a proper view of God’s promises in the quiet darkness of waiting. Waiting Songs gives our hearts the opportunity to commune with God and worship Him in the wait.
Oh, how our little ones need to opportunity to worship God in the waiting! Because all around them is a broken world and our children know all is not as it should be. They were born with a God shaped hole in their heart that will not ever be filled with the trimmings and trinkets on the Christmas tree. Their young souls know sadness, sickness, and heartache. Our children (and ourselves) are made by a Holy God in His image and therefore, we will never be satisfied until we are with Him completely and forever. Every son, every daughter is longing and waiting for Jesus…whether they are keenly aware of it or not.
Our children need to experience Advent, as they are a waiting people as well. Waiting Songs puts words in our mouths that help us cry out for Jesus and celebrate His coming in our “almost, not yet, already” world. This advent, my family is singing our anticipation of Christ together through the beautiful and heartfelt songs of Rain for Roots.
Some songs on the album brings tears to our eyes, some have us dancing around the room, and one even makes my kids giggle (“Zechariah”), although all the Waiting Songs point my children and I to the One our souls cannot be satisfied without.
We wait for You.
Here are a few ideas to “unpack” Waiting Songs even more with your children.
• Plant an amaryllis bulb. Within a few days, you can see a green shoot growing out of the brown “stump.” My kids love singing track 3 on the album, Isaiah 11, “A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse” as we watch our plant grown and meditate on the slow unfurling of Christ coming into our world.
• Track 3, “Every Valley” gives a picture of writing a letter to a friend and waiting to hear back. Have your children write a letter to a loved one and mark the days on a calendar until they hear back. Pray for that person each day as you mark it on your calendar.
• Listen the track 5, “The weight of the world.” Using blocks or stones, write down the things that are sad or difficult in your lives – one on each block or stone. (If your children are older, you could also write down the sad and broken things we read in the news). Place them in a basket and thank Christ for “carrying the weight of the world” as you place the weights at his feet.
• Assign roles for track 7, “Zechariah.” You can assign Zechariah, Elizabeth, Gabriel, and Baby John. Act out the story as you listen to the song. Alternatively, make up motions for the song, keeping your hands over you mouth, when Zechariah can’t speak!
• Bake bread or cookies and talk about how hard the waiting is, but the reward is worth the wait. How much greater is Jesus as a reward than bread!