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by Keifer Lucchi | Advent Week 2: Preparing
As each year ends, I ask the Lord for next year’s “word.” Last year, my word was “delay.” “Just wait,” God said. “You won’t enter into the new things I’ve promised you this year.” Just. Wait. Two of my least favorite words. We’ve lived in the Czech Republic for seven years, and much of our time here has been spent waiting, whether for visas, marriage, children, or the big ministry breakthrough we keep hearing about in prayer. After almost two years of COVID-19 lockdowns, another year of delay sounded like torture.
For over two years we’ve pursued the purchase of a ministry house. When we first heard Jesus speak about it, we expected everything to go quickly. After about nine months, when the first house fell through, we were exhausted and disappointed. We wondered why things hadn’t worked out. When God “delayed” us, we moved from active preparation into waiting with expectation. Like the five faithful virgins in Matthew 25, we watched, we listened, and we rested. This time, we didn’t get swept up in all the things we could do to be ready. We kept it simple, and kept our eyes open, for Jesus’ arrival on the housing scene. When God spoke, we were ready to move, but this time at His pace. We had so many papers to fill out, money to raise, meetings, negotiations, logistics. As we gave our anxieties and fears to Him, He guided each step.
Waiting Over Preparing
We, as westerners, love to “prepare” because we love to stay busy. It’s a lovely replacement for the word “wait.” When I think of waiting, I think of doctors’ offices, rush-hour traffic, and 3am stakeouts on Black Friday. We all like the results of waiting, but I doubt waiting itself is on most of our “to-do” lists. Rather, waiting is what’s keeping us from accomplishing what we set out to do in the first place. Preparation is preferred to waiting because it entails movement. Like taking the backroads during rush- hour, we may not get to our destination any faster, but we feel like we have momentum. Our biggest fear is being caught “unprepared,” whether it be for a long-awaited baby or an unexpected cold front during vacation in July.
As we enter the “preparation” week of advent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’ve got cookies to bake, presents to buy, and relatives to visit, in addition to “normal life.” And yet, when Jesus came into the world, it wasn’t with feasts or fanfare. It was quiet, simple, and unremarkable. Mary and Joseph weren’t given opportunity to prepare even a decent bed for their newborn son, let alone do-up a room, plan a dinner, and make sure gifts were perfectly arranged under the tree. They didn’t prepare, they waited, even amid life’s chaos (and a Roman census). What would it look like to celebrate this Christmas in the spirit of the first? What if we chose rest? Maybe, just maybe, we’d find Jesus there too.
Keifer & Caity Lucchi work in the Czech Republic as All Nations missionaries reaching out to children/teenagers, the LGBTQ+ community, and other neglected demographics. They have two kids, Miriam and Teodor, and love telling stories about and inspired by Jesus.