Sunday, December 11, 2016

Ready or not—Carolyn R. Wilker

                                          Photo: C. R. Wilker

You may be familiar with the children’s game of Hide and Seek. One person counts while another one, or maybe more, hides. What is agreed on first is that the person counting will get to a certain number, and then will call, “Coming, ready or not!” or some variation of those words. There might even be a home base, in a game outdoors, for those hiding to run for “home” without being caught.
I played the game with my sisters when we were growing up, and now I play it with my grandchildren who are five and seven. They have their secret hiding spots in our home (some not so secret, when they were smaller). It didn’t matter that, at first, it was the same few spots over and over, or that I heard giggling as I came near. I’d pretend I didn’t see or hear them and look other places, and finally only a few minutes later say, “There you are!” The response has always ended in a good deal of laughter.
 Then it was my turn to hide. I found some pretty good places, but it didn’t dare be too hard or make them look too long or it wasn’t fun anymore. Sometimes they got their grandpa looking too. The best part of the game was the suspense, waiting to see my surprised face when I found them, or they found me.

Photo: C. R. Wilker

Imagine the suspense God created for his people when he said he’d send a Saviour. It wasn’t the five or eight minutes that it takes to find a person, as in our game, it was centuries. We’re told the people waited through periods of history for their saviour, through many trials and harsh rulers. They waited and waited, and then what did they find? Not what they expected. 
When Jesus came, there was no jumping out from the shadows to say, “Here I am” as an older child might do, or even falling asleep while waiting to be found, as happened once in our home in a game of hide and seek when Dad took too long to find his young daughter.
Advent reminds us of that wait and those dark times before the Saviour finally arrived. It seemed as though it was so long that people forgot the clues (the signs) that God gave for the coming. The wise men looked in old scrolls for clues and the shepherds had no idea what was about to happen that night on the hillside.
People might have expected a king to deliver them, and if it was to be a baby, that he’d be born in some elegant place to important people, and certainly not in a stable as Jesus was born (Luke 2). The players were all important, it was just different than people expected.
This Advent season, remember God’s special gift, his surprises, as well as the expectations that God redeem his people, then rejoice, “Here you are!” when you find him.

Carolyn Wilker, author and editor from Ontario, Canada.

                                                   photo by James Woo, Clickr Photography


Peter Black said...

Hide and seek . . . Great fun. And what an appropriate analogy and application! Hiding from God was probably the first game, and if I remember correctly, the first question in the Bible is God calling out to Adam after he'd sinned, "Where are you?" (as though He didn't know!).
Thanks for this delightful piece. ~~+~~

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Thank you, Peter, for your thoughtful reply. Yes, it was God looking for man first of all. The idea of people waiting so long and then finding Jesus seemed another angle to consider.

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