What did you come to see? This is an important question to ask ourselves this advent. What do we come expecting to see? It brings us up a little short, we have to actually wrestle with the question, and what comes out will be different for all of us. What do we come to see? The question speaks to the longing of our hearts. As I was thinking and wrestling with this question the song, "O come, o come Emmanuel" started running through my head because this question taps into our hearts longing.
I couldn't help but think of the story of "Prince Caspian" from "The Chronicles of Narnia" while pondering this because what you expect never is seen. Prince Caspian blows the magic horn of Narnia expecting old kings and queens to show up to his aid. What comes are the four Pevinse children, children, not adults. He doesn't expect to find talking animals and he does. The children expect Aslan to show up in all the old ways, so they don't believe Lucy, the youngest, sees him all by herself and they follow the wrong path and have to go back to where Lucy saw him pointing the way to go. Nothing works out the way any of them expects to see it and they have to rely on an inner sight instead of the outer sight to win the day.
Today with this question is not so different, what do we come expecting to see? Do we come expecting to find the stable empty of a babe, which is our tradition, it helps to symbolize waiting. Do we come expecting to find justice, and we only find more doubt that it even exists. Do we come expecting at Christmas to find a babe, which we have to wait 30 years before he's grown to save us from anything. If he makes it to be a grown man at all because of disease or cruel kings or power hungry oppressors. In our instant society we don't wait well. Yet this what this story is all about.
What did John expect to see? Now that he is in a prison, not a self imposed exile in the desert, but a cell with four walls he asks, are you the one, or shall we wait for another? He doesn't see as clearly when his expectations and longings meet injustice and four walls. If this is the Messiah don't I get a get out of jail free card? What did he come to see? When God doesn't meet our expectations when there is death, disease, injustice do we suddenly doubt what is seen?
We still wait. What did you come to see? Ask the question, reflect on your expectations this advent. Are they realistic, is there something else you are expecting? Are you surprised by what you are expecting? Then offer it up to God and see what God's reply is. This is advent wait for what you cannot see.