December 3, 2021

Advent Reflections of Waiting and Wandering

Written by Sarah Bourns Crosby

Advent is for those who wait.

Which is all of us. We wait for the job, the decision, the baby, the healing, the answer, the spouse, and so much more. 

Waiting often stirs up feelings of longing, lack, loss, and loneliness.

Each week of Advent, we’ll sit with one of those raw emotions, even as we invite Christ to sit with us in our waiting.  

And Christ invites us to wait with HOPE, with PEACE, with JOY, and with LOVE. 

I titled this poem “Blessed is She,” based on the women in Christ’s ancestry who waited and believed in God’s faithfulness despite great pain and longing. 

This piece means a lot to me personally, as some of my deep longings are layered throughout.

May you also find your own story as you read between the lines. 

B L E S S E D  I S  S H E
For those who still believe

I am Sarah
Bitter and barren 
Burnt out by this promise that never came
Worn out from waiting
Laughing to hide the aching
Longing for these empty arms to hold a baby
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Tamar
Tired of trying so hard
Pushed away, cast aside
Left with no one to provide
Longing for these wrongs to be made right
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Rahab
Used and abused
Body broken, soul bruised 
Working late into the night
Weary, just trying to survive
Longing for some good to come from this tattered life
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Ruth
Grieved and alone
Left with nothing, far from home
Back, breaking
Heart, aching
Leaving so much behind
Longing to start a new life
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Bathsheba
Angry and ashamed
It was never supposed to be this way
Years of resentment, tears of regret
Longing for this story to be redeemed
But oh . . .
How could that be?

I am Elizabeth
Washed up and nearing the end 
Disappointed, again and again and again
Wanting things to finally change 
Wondering if it’s just too late
Longing for faith to still believe
But oh . . .
How could that be? 

I am Mary
Overwhelmed and afraid
Young and small, and anything but brave
I had plans, I had dreams
But now everything has changed
And I don’t know if I’ll have what it takes 
But I do know I’ll trust you anyway.
Oh Abba, Why me?
Oh Abba. How will this be?

The Holy Spirit will come upon you
And the power of the Most High will overshadow you
So this child to be born of you
Will be the Savior of the world.

For behold, 
She who was said to be barren has conceived
And she who nearly lost hope still believed
And she who was worn out from waiting, held a baby
And she who was grieved, her story was redeemed 
And she who was broken was honored and healed.

For nothing
Is impossible
With God. 


Blessed is she 
Who believed
That there would be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen.

A   P R A C T I C E

Hold out both of your hands.
Your left hand represents Radical Hope.
Your right hand, Radical Surrender.

1. In your left hand, what are you currently longing and trusting for with radical hope? 
What are you believing that you have yet to  see
About what have you found yourself saying, how could that be? 
Clench your left hand into a tight fist and hold on with everything you’ve got to radical hope.
Speak out loud over your disbelief, doubt or fear, the same words the angel said to Mary – “Nothing is impossible with God.”

2. Now hold your right hand out, wide open, in a posture of radical surrender. 
Release your expectations of “how” or “when” . . .
Lay aside any predictions about “where” or “who” . . .
Let slip right through your fingers, any controlling or micromanaging about what exactly God should do . . .
And say out loud like Mary, “May it be to me just as You say” . . . even if it comes in a very different way.

A   P R A Y E R
of blessing for those who hope

Blessed are WE 
Who believe
That there will be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen. And,

Blessed are YOU
Who do
STILL believe
That there will be
A fulfillment
Of the promise
Yet to be seen.

May it be so. 

As we pondered already, Advent is for those who wait.
Advent is also for those who wander

Many of us find ourselves in a wilderness place today. Dry and dusty in our hearts or in our faith.  Worried about our people, hurried in our pace. 

Advent invites us to calm the chaos in and around us.
To seek the Shepherd who is seeking us.
To receive His peace that persistently pursues us.
Even as we wander. 

Today, we choose to sit still in our scrambling and searching and seeking. 

I titled this poem “A Voice in the Wilderness,” based on the desert wanderings of God’s people through history and throughout our own lives.

You’ll hear echoes of Exodus 14, Isaiah 40, and Psalm 23 and be reminded that Christ came right into the middle of our mess and made a way in the wilderness.

This is for those of us who know the desert days.
Who feel parched and lack what we need.
Who are waiting for wanderers to come home. 
Who are hungering and thirsting for Peace. 

A  V O I C E  in the  W I L D E R N E S S
For those who wander

Dry and dusty, vast and empty
This is a desolate place.

Wandering in circles
Weakening every day. 

Feet stumbling with each step
Voices grumbling, under breath.

How did we ever get here?
Why did we leave what we knew?

When will we ever get there?
What will we find if we do?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget us?
How long will we lack what we need?

How long will we wander this wilderness?
How long will we search for peace?



Into the darkness
Over the stillness

A voice
In the wilderness:


Make these desert paths 

These dark mountains, made low
These bleak valleys, raised high.

This hard soil, new growth
This dry ground, fresh life. 

And the glory of the Lord
Will be revealed

And all people
Will see it.

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God
Creator of the ends of the earth.

Yes, your Shepherd is coming
You shall want no more.

Leading you by still waters
Gently restoring your soul.

Though you walk through the valley 
He’ll stay right beside you. 

His rod and his staff
There to comfort and guide you.

He prepares an abundance
In your enemy’s presence.

Sets a table before you
Brimming with blessing.

And your cup 

And goodness and mercy 


(Yes you)

All the days of your life.

And you shall dwell,
No more in the desert.

But in the house of the Lord

A   P R A C T I C E 

Close your eyes.
Picture yourself in a desert. Dry and dusty. Desolate and empty.  Cold wind whipping your face. Feet plodding along, step by tired step. 

Imagine you don’t have what you need.  Maybe… that’s not too hard to imagine. 
Maybe right now you are lacking something, someone, that feels necessary for life.

Today, right now,
What do you lack?
What do you need?
What do you want?

Now, picture your Good Shepherd walking right up next to you in this wilderness.
He wraps one arm around you and gently asks you, by name, those very same questions . . .

What do you lack?
What do you need?
What do you want, my beloved?

And you bravely and honestly reply . . .
(Put it into an actual sentence and speak it out loud.)

Your own voice, crying in the wilderness:

Lord, I lack ___________
Lord, I need __________
Lord, I want __________

And finally, go beneath the surface, one more layer deep . . .
What is it you truly most need?

You will find
That He’s already walking with you
Side by side.

A   P R A Y E R
for the desert days

May you wander well.
May you wander WITH Immanuel 
Giving you His presence
His Spirit, here to dwell.

May your wandering not be in vain,
May this wilderness be the WAY.
The path of peace, where you have all that you need,
Enough manna for today.

May your cup overflow
And goodness and mercy follow


Yes, You,

Wherever your feet may roam. 

And may you know, 

That you shall dwell,
No more in the desert,
But in the house of the Lord

May it be so. 

More of Sarah’s works can be found at or @sarahbournscrosby on Instagram.