"But the present world is also designed for something which has not yet happened. It is like a violin waiting to be played: beautiful to look at, graceful to hold - and yet if you'd never heard one in the hands of a musician, you wouldn't believe the new dimensions of beauty yet to be revealed."

(NT Wright)

Advent is about waiting. Waiting for the celebration, the remembering of the birth of God in a cattle trough. God coming to humanity to say, "I love you."

Advent is about waiting for God to move again, too. To one day make all wrong things right, all bad things good, all cursed things blessed -- all tears wiped, grief washed, sickness and death a distant memory.

Until then, we wait.

We are waiting people.

But did you know the world waits, too? Our precious earth, battered and bruised by our neglect and misuse, bloodied by war, too warm and roiling for its own good. She also waits. Groans with expectation, according to the apostle Paul.

Yet one day - One Great Day - the earth itself will be set free from humanity's sin and darkness. And she will be displayed in the fullness of her original glory and indescribable beauty. The oceans will roar, the mountains will stand, the sun will shine, the moon will glow, the trees will dance, the animals will play. All of it, all of it, stunning beyond words. Like a beautiful violin that is finally being played by a master.

Until then, we are a waiting people atop a waiting earth. We are connected, humanity and our earth, by a tender thread of hope. Hope beyond hope that this isn't all there is. Hope that waits in defiant expectation.

Welcome to Advent, friends.

Let's wait (and work) together ...