advent 2 (maranatha)

I only know the word as an Advent word. I only hear it as a crying out, a prayer, desperate and true –

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.

There is a holy impatience in the word. Perhaps, a holy impatience in Advent altogether. It is the impatience of a people who, though not ready, want to be made ready, a people who cry out prepare the way even as our hearts falter and fumble. Even as we still say the unkind or ungenerous thing (oh, how many of those I have said and thought), even as we still forget to open our homes, even as we treat each other without the care of a people walking in the light, even then –

we want Jesus to come.

Maranatha. Lord Jesus, I long for you.

I used to ache to light the second candle on the Advent wreath. I used to long for nothing but to be old enough to read out to the congregation – “Today we light the second candle of Advent,” – I used to bounce around these old walls and floors with the knowledge that we were closer to Christmas. My child self knows how to be impatient for the wonder of Jesus better than I do. And though perhaps the impatience was mingled with a few hopeful glances at my stocking (I have it still, decorated with my name in felt and a bear holding a present), though perhaps I was easily caught in the swirl of the season –

even then, I was longing for him.

Maranatha, maranatha.

Is it so soon that I have forgotten how words are whole prayers? I have sat here this afternoon wondering about whether I can, or should, or even know how to write in this space anymore. I have asked God, didn’t I know how to pray here, once?

But only the word is sometimes the widest prayer. A clatter of syllables on a thirsty, impatient heart.

Maranatha.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Pray it with me?

Love,
hilary

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