Have you ever tried to put a shovel into the garden in late December? It bounces back. In our part of the world, the land hardens in the winter. We know it is coming, and accept it when it does. But we look for another, softer time.
When Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch it is always winter but never Christmas. The animals hide out; life recedes to the edges, people keep their distance, meeting only in secret.
We wish and hope for the restoration of life, when the land will yield to the shovel and life will spring up anew from the earth. In Narnia, it is Aslan’s breath that brings the spring. For Christians, it comes as God speaks, and returns to hearts grown cold from the hiding and separation.
In Advent, this is what we hope for and anticipate. As winter hardens around us, we are reminded that much of our lives are lived in this hope. It is the season of waiting. The psalmist reminds us of this with the little word “will,” used in almost every line. “Will” is not “might”; our advent hope is not uncertainty, but it is anticipation of what is coming but is not yet. What we anticipate is the fullness of what we have known in bits and pieces throughout our lives--when someone we love kisses us or we have the privilege of watching new life emerge from the womb or the barren ground.
The psalmist reminds us that a time is coming when the bits WILL come together in full embrace, righteousness with peace, and the land WILL yield its increase. The anticipation sees us through, and points out a way, as we set our course over the frozen ground.