I don’t think I have ever met anyone who enjoys waiting. It’s like conflict too. I have never met anyone who says, “I really enjoy conflict and the emotions that come with it!” Instead, in my conversations with others and in books I read, waiting is often referred to as something to get through or to endure. For example, “I can’t wait until I get my hair cut, “or “I can’t wait until we leave for vacation, “or “I can’t wait to find out how this book ends.”
All my life I have been waiting for something. Whether it was for Christmas or summer vacation as a child, to waiting for each of my children to be born, or waiting to find out where our family will eventually live, I have been waiting. Perhaps that is why Advent is so meaningful for me.
Advent means waiting or anticipation. Given that I am only forty years old, I haven’t been waiting for any one thing for very long. The people of Israel however, had been waiting for over four hundred years before the Messiah came. No major prophets no nothing during those long, silent years.
Many Advent devotionals focus on this aspect of waiting. Yet I am struck by how little I am prepared to wait in this day and age. If I choose to, I can text, twitter, email, and check Facebook literally all day long. This in turn gives me a false sense of control over my life, and doesn’t do much in preparing me to wait.
This has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately because I find myself waiting and wondering where the next step in our family’s journey will take us. Brad still needs to write his dissertation and I don’t know how long that will take. It may go more quickly than imagined or it may go more slowly. Either way, I wait. I wonder about Jacob entering high school next year, and hate the thought of him having to move during his high school years, and yet it looks like a reality. And so, I wait. I think about my own plans to pursue graduate work and I have no idea when that will happen. Once again, I wait. I am not despairing over this waiting business, but I am trying to be aware of how I use this waiting time. Am I still enough to allow God to speak to me in these moments? Am I present in the moments of each day? Or am I trying to orchestrate my life and give myself the illusion of control and productivity?
May this Advent season draw you closer to Christ. Thankfully, we don’t wait alone. Whatever life may hold for you at this moment—good or ill—“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” May these words of truth settle in our hearts and minds, and bring us peace in the midst of waiting.