In 2007, I paced in my apartment, phone pressed to my ear as my undocumented fiancé mourned the immigration reform bill dying on the Senate floor. Momentum had been building all summer, and against his better judgment, Billy’s hopes had risen.
He was working on a construction crew in Los Angeles, so as he called me from work, he wasn’t experiencing this crushing disappointment alone. “All the guys are sad,” he told me. “Nobody wants to work.”
* * *
This past summer, our second child was born. Major life events always serve as painful reminders that my in-laws, still in Guatemala, have been denied visas to visit us multiple times.
This Advent season, I can’t seem to stop thinking about immigration reform.
For six and a half years, I’ve been waiting, hoping and expecting this legislation to pass. For many others, it’s been so much longer than that. And I’ve been wrestling with hope when the timeline isn’t concrete. Maybe part of the reason I love Advent is because I know for sure that on December 25th, we light the Christ candle. We celebrate the arrival of the baby Jesus.
I’ve been reflecting during this Advent season on what it must have felt like to wait on the Messiah, knowing the arrival was promised, but the timeline unsure. And quite frankly, it’s a painful tension. Witnessing suffering, knowing that relief is coming, but we just don’t know when. I struggle with patience. And I don’t recover quickly from disappointment.
After the Senate passed reform this past June, my mother-in-law called, excited with the news that she would soon be able to visit. My hopes rose. But then I worried it wouldn’t happen.
Most politicians we connected with on our recent visit to DC seemed to believe immigration reform is going to pass. They’re just not sure when.
We, the people of God, have entered a life of waiting. Of hope and of expectation–that one day, there will be no more tears. That suffering will end. That we wait in faithful expectation of a God who will burst into the darkness and bring justice and freedom to the people.
I eagerly anticipate Christ this year. I want to remain focused on the expectation that my God is arriving, even as our country groans with the injustice of our immigration laws.
We are waiting. Waiting and hoping and expecting. The Christ child will arrive. And Christ desires that the chains of injustice be loosed!
Sarah Quezada works with Mission Year, a year-long urban service program for young adults. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Billy and their two children. Stories and reflections on their cross-cultural life and ministry together can be found at her blog, A Life with Subtitles.
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