This past weekend was busy with activity, some of it holiday-related - Christmas open houses and Christmas parties - some of it was just normal busyness - visiting an art exhibition, shopping, lunch with friends.
But despite the otherwise hectic schedule, Sunday afternoon and evening was completely free. It happened accidentally, if you must know. Before I could get tickets for a Christmas concert at my church, they all sold out. So even though most of my friends were attending, I wasn't.
And by the end of a busy Saturday, I had looked ahead to Sunday with relief.
"I'm actually glad I'm not going to the concert," I had told a woman at church Sunday morning. "I now have the whole afternoon and evening free."
But as the afternoon wore on, and I sat watching Christmas movies, sipping hot cocoa, and lighting the Advent candles by myself, the house felt cold and my heart felt empty.
But I'm slowing down, taking time for the season, letting Advent really soak in, I tried telling my sad little soul. Enjoy this time! But when I tried to call friends I thought would not be at the concert and instead got their voicemail, then I just got angry with myself: it's just one evening. Can't you be alone for even one evening without feeling sorry for yourself?
When Jesus ascended after the resurrection and left his disciples to wait for his return, he never meant for them to wait alone.
That's why he built His church.
But Jesus knows the truth about being human, that sometimes we can be the most lonely when we are surrounded by peopl, or on the one afternoon we've spent alone in weeks.
That's why He sent His Spirit.
It's good to be with friends and family during the holidays. It's good to love each other and encourage each other and point each other to the Manger and say, 'Ah ha! All things are possible with God.'
But it's also good to be alone this season. It's good to remember the lonely road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, from Jerusalem to Golgotha. It's good to point to the man there, alone on the cross, and say, "Oh Lord, you do know my pain.'
We wait for Him together. We wait for Him alone.
He waits with us.
More stories about Advent, from the High Calling Advent Writing Project: