We Are All Waiting For God
By Beth Demme
I was honored to preach at St. George Island UMC on Sunday. This blog post is based on the sermon I shared there. If you would like to watch the whole sermon, it’s posted here. I would love to have your feedback!
Happy New Year! I know we haven’t dropped the ball yet or toasted with champagne, but we have, in fact, begun a new year in the life of the church. Advent has begun!
Advent is a season of waiting, and preparation, “for the birth of Christ, and a celebration of God’s unconditional love.”
In Advent We Wait
One of my favorite pastor-writers is a Lutheran pastor from Denver named Nadia Bolz-Weber. Last year at Advent she tweeted, “The wait is over. It’s finally #Advent. Oh … wait…”
I’m not good at waiting. I avoid slow traffic and I use my iPhone to entertain myself in line at the grocery store.
Even though I’m not good at waiting and I normally avoid it at all costs, I actually love the liturgical season of waiting.
Advent reminds us that we are all waiting for God.
Maybe you are waiting for God to:
- heal you or a loved one from an illness,
- show up in the midst of a difficulty like unemployment,
- make himself present in your suffering, or
- maybe you are waiting on reassurance that God is present with you today.
If waiting has gotten you down, please know that you are not alone. Psalm 69 says, “I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. … Do not hide your face from your servant [God], for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.” (Psalm 69:3, 17)
I’ve been like that Psalmist, crying my eyes out and sobbing until my throat was parched. I have begged God to be present with me, or to change a situation, or to bring healing. Maybe you have, too.
Advent reminds us that our wait is not wasted because Advent leads to Christmas.
When my husband and I decided to start a family, our adoption journey involved a lot of forced waiting. We were at the mercy of local and state officials, federal officials, and the Russian government.
Of course, the wait was worth it! The love I feel for my children eclipses the memory of the months and months of waiting.
Pregnancies last 40 weeks, adoptions often take longer (our daughter’s adoption took more than a year). In either case, it can feel like a very long and uncomfortable wait. And yet, in the end, it’s worth it.
Advent is a worthwhile wait because it leads to Christmas.
At Christmas, we celebrate that God was physically present in this world. We celebrate that every prayer uttered before the birth of Jesus, and since, has been heard and lovingly received.
Normally I don’t celebrate waiting, but Advent is different.
In Advent, we wait for The One who the Gospel of John calls “the light of all people.” (John 1:4) I celebrate my belief that God will restore everyone and all things, from my smallest mistakes to the tremendous evil and suffering present in the world today.
In this season, I wait to celebrate the birth of the one who “was in the beginning with God” and through whom “all things came into being” and whose “light shines in the darkness” and overcomes the darkness. (John 1:1-4)
Advent is a time to remember we are all waiting on God and this wait is not wasted. Christmas is coming.
Suggested Resources for Celebrating the Season of Waiting: