Sunday, I woke up a little more frigid than usual, realizing that my furnace was not actually blowing heat, just a little 60 degree, recirculated air. A quick call to my dad and then to the furnace repairman, and I was gearing up for a cold day of sitting by the space heaters.

Until the furnace decided to kick back on — operating rather intermittently over the next couple of days. It took a service call, a sales rep, and two technicians to finally finish the job today of installing a brand new heat pump and furnace, with 10-year warranties and other kinds of life-time guarantees. Plus I have a new programmable thermostat, and supposedly my high efficiency will earn me some credit with the local utility company. Not bad for three days of chill.

In the midst of recovering from chemotherapy and at the risk of oversimplifying Advent, I almost felt a little presumptious buying an appliance for its 10-year qualities. Who knows what this next year may bring; let alone 10 years.

But as I reflected on what the expectation of advent really means during this season, I am reminded that even for a person with cancer, waiting for Jesus is not about waiting for death. It’s about waiting for life, better life, longer life, more glorious life. When Jesus comes, I won’t need a new heat pump and furnace, but as long as I am living, feeling the need for warmth and comfort, heat pumps and furnaces are no more presumptious than food and clothes. They are icons of the life we seek in the one true Life Giver.

This evening as I sit in my new, warmly efficient home, I feel full of the hope of heaven, that Jesus is coming again to give us the life he promised and that we experience in part even now.