I would be the first to admit that I am not particularly good at waiting. I am usually not prepared well to wait. Diane, on the other hand, is a champ when it comes to waiting. You will notice that she almost always carries a bag along with her. In that bag are the things that she can do if she is called upon to wait. It might contain a book to read or a list to prepare or a note to write or a file to organize. Usually I find myself waiting empty handed. I suppose there is a part of me that simply refuses to acknowledge that I will have to wait on something. I count that, at least in part, to the predominate message of our culture that we shouldn’t have to wait on anything. In our society things are set up for speed. We get our food “fast.” We get our oil changed in a “jiffy.” We even get a “fast pass” when we go on vacation to avoid waiting in line. I’ve noticed in the waiting room of my doctor’s office, a place where we usually expect to wait, that there is a sign that encourages me to make it known if I have been waiting over 15 minutes.
In the midst of our hurried lives, I’ve coming to appreciate the “gift” of waiting. Recently I was supposed to meet someone and got to the meeting place a few minutes early. It was a beautiful day and I sat for a few minutes with the sun shining down and a gentle breeze blowing and simply received the gift of waiting. I’ve also come to realize that I am never actually empty handed if I find myself having to wait. Waiting provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with God through prayer.
I’ve also noticed that there are some things that are simply worth waiting for. As we usually do, Diane and I planted a small garden this summer. We watched and waited for our tomato plants to bloom and then we watched as the green tomatoes got larger and eventually turned pink and then red. It was a long process. There was nothing we could do to speed things up. We just had to wait, but I can truly say the taste of those homegrown tomatoes was worth every minute of the wait. For Thanksgiving we went to our son’s house. We were the first to arrive and then had to wait for our other children and grandchildren to get there. It was worth the wait.
Advent is a season of waiting. It gives us the opportunity to slow down and ponder the gift of salvation that came into the world through the birth of Jesus. You cannot hurry it along. You have to simply take it a week at a time, a day at a time, a moment at a time. Wanting Christmas to get here more quickly does not make it arrive any faster. I’ve come to believe there is a measure of grace in the waiting.
Waiting our way through Advent can actually provide us with opportunities to see things that we would not otherwise see as we race through our days. Waiting provides the platform through which God can teach us patience. Waiting can create an appreciation for that which is yet to come. Waiting can slow us down so we can appreciate that which God may bring our way as we wait.
Welcome to the season of waiting called Advent. Take advantage of what such waiting has to offer and let yourself appreciate each day and the blessings of each day as they come your way.
Waiting with you as we serve the One who came and who is coming,