It is Advent, a time of waiting. As we wait in places that are dark and uncertain, we hear the voices of the prophets promise the coming of one who will bring Peace, establishing a kingdom marked by Justice and Righteousness. So we wait in silence, desperately trying to block out the noise of the world so we can expectantly wait for our Peace. We strain to listen for words of Hope in these small spaces where we live and work.
For as many years as I can remember, we have struggled with what we hear. Noah’s autism has gifted him with almost super-human hearing, so we often struggle to block or dampen some of the noise in our environments. These environments include school, home, church, restaurants, cars, movie theaters, and anything in-between. Events large and small are painful because he hears so much. Our noise canceling headphones have made us the object of many jeers and jokes. It is just one more way the space we live in is small.
It has occurred to me most recently that all we are really trying to do is hear very certain things, while we exclude other noise. This way of living seems offensive to many. We hear differently, perceive differently and learn differently. There is a beautiful brain between those headphones that most people will never take the time to get to know because it is “other” than themselves.
Likewise, the time of Advent is a time of listening and waiting. It is blocking out the competing messages that promise hope, but only bring emptiness. But many will never truly know it because it is something other than that in which they have come to find comfort. For those of us who constantly struggle to find even the small spaces of acceptance, Advent is familiar.
“The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.”
So we wait for this Christmas Advent and for the great Advent to come. I live in constant hope that sometime before that great and final Advent that we will be a welcome part of a community – something that is not merely tolerated as “other.” But if we live until that day without “receiving the promise,” we will practice Peace while we wait.
5 For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. [Selah] 
 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections On Advent and Christmas, 7/31/10 ed., ed. Jana Riess (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 2.
 The Revised Standard Version (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1971), Heb 11:39.
 The Revised Standard Version (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1971), Ps 62:5–8.