There’s a long stretch of life where you’re on the receiving end of Christmas. The gifts are thoughtful and useful. You participate in the church Christmas program, help your parents in the kitchen, and unwrap gifts.
Then there’s a season of life where you’re the giver of Christmas. You plan the meals, arrange the gatherings, buy and wrap the presents. You think of traditions and execute them, trying with everything you have to make it perfect and also make your kids care more about Jesus than all the stuff.
And then there’s you. Right now.
You are in this weird season where you have no money but you can vote and study. Where on your worst days you think about Christmas as the time you relax after finals, and on your best days you start realizing what a MIRACLE it is that the world’s savior came as a baby.
First, you should know that all of us, at every age, are trying to grasp the importance of Christmas. Fighting to come back to the beauty of the birth of Jesus.
Second, As much as it may not seem like it, you are uniquely positioned to connect to Advent in the season you’re in. You are preparing yourself to step into the post-grad life. A huge part of getting there is waiting. Waiting for the spark of knowing what to major in, what internships to take, or where to apply (ServeHere, of course). Of longing for a future you’re trying to picture. But I actually love the picture you’re living in- you’re not just sitting and waiting for the future. Your waiting is active. You are taking classes and testing your faith. You are asking questions, living in community, finding out what gifts you have to use. You’re fighting to surrender and trust. You’re not just learning about the Gospel, this story is for you.
Who better to relate to the world that waited … and waited… and waited… praying and believing that God told the truth?
Jesus was born in a place no one could have imagined, to people no one else would have chosen, in a way that didn’t quite make sense… all completely purposeful. It’s the most hopeful of messages for those of you trying to muster up a completely unforeseeable future.
And your job in the waiting?
Anchoring your faith.
Keep doing one thing at a time and start letting the thread of your God be part of every small step.
It’s that time of year. Finals wrap up, you pack up your car with clothes and let out a huge exhale knowing the stress of the semester is finally over. And it is... kind of. Unfortunately, the question that has been ringing in your ear all semester follows you back home.
“So, what are you doing after college?”
So how do you answer your Aunt Linda when she asks about your post grad plans? You’re only secretly worried about the question until someone asks you and the sweating and heart pumping starts… but fear not. It’s understandable for this question to feel heavy. It sparks all the shame of the jobs you haven't applied for, the direction you don’t yet have, but most of all it highlights the fact that you don’t have the answer that is going to please the person asking the question. And that’s ok.
You are dreaming and hoping for a future where you get to steward your gifts and passions, and support yourself financially. You are trying to connect all the dots of what you have learned, what you love, and where you want to live. You, dear soon-to-be-graduate, are not supposed to know what you want to do with your life. You are in an active waiting season, and the best thing you can do right now is find a posture of surrender and discernment.
As you approach graduation, it’s becoming increasingly important for you to anchor yourself in the Truth of God, and in the gifts you’re ready to put to use. What better time to practice that than during Advent? This waiting period before Christmas, is a time of contemplation and reflection. Waiting, waiting, faithfully and hopefully waiting. This season is a representation of generations waiting on the birth of our Savior.
If you allow the desire to have the right answer be the motivator to find a job, you will chase the relief of the answer, rather than the peace of believing God has something for you.
Before you panic-answer all of the questions about your future, reflect on these questions:
There is a path ahead of you that is both nothing you can imagine, and everything you're dreaming of. A future where you are confident in Who has brought you here, in the work you are doing, and in what is to come.
'Tis the season to wait well and trust God.