A new church year has begun! Advent is here! Advent means “coming” or “visit” and it’s the season when the church anticipates the birth of Jesus. In other words, this is a season dedicated to waiting.
More than that, Advent is a season when we celebrate waiting.
Waiting is not something I normally celebrate.
When my family goes out to dinner, we go early just to avoid the wait. As I drive around town, I avoid buses because I don’t want to get stuck behind one, forced to wait at each bus stop. I watch crosswalk signs to know when my wait at the red light will finally end. If I’m forced to wait in a line at the grocery store, I pull my phone out to entertain myself.
I think you get the idea – I do not enjoy waiting.
Advent is different. Advent reminds me that we are all waiting for God.
Maybe you are waiting for God to heal you or a loved one from an illness. Maybe you are waiting for God to show up in the midst of a personal conflict. Maybe you need God to make himself present in your suffering, or maybe you just want 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, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.” (Psalm 69:3, 17)
I’ve been like that Psalmist. I’ve cried my eyes out and sobbed until my throat was parched. I’ve begged God to be present with me, or to change a situation, or to bring healing.
Advent reminds us that our wait is not wasted.
Advent leads to Christmas. At Christmas, we celebrate God’s physical presence in this world. We celebrate that every prayer uttered before the birth of Jesus, and since, has been heard and lovingly received.
Normally I do not celebrate waiting, but Advent is different.
In Advent, I wait for The One who is “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.
What about you? Are you good at waiting? Are you patient behind buses or in long lines? Are you waiting for God to show up in your life? Tell me about it in the comments, in an e-mail, or on Facebook.
More like this from Beth: