I have never received a compliment for being patient. Have you? Long lines cause me physical pain. I’ve had 3-G for a year – I can’t recall how I ever made it with 2-G and am in dire need of 4-G. There are still people that drive slowly in the fast lane despite my ‘encouragement’ that they move over quickly. I tend to live in the now – if I need to ‘wait’ for something, there is something else I can do while I ‘wait’ and I still don’t like having to wait in the first place. Truth is, if I ever do get that compliment, it will be from someone that does not know me that well.
Which brings us to the Season of Advent…I thought it would never get here! A time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Messiah. Implicitly, if we are waiting, we are waiting for something. If you are someone who waits for nothing, you should cut that out.
In advent, we wait for nothing less than Jesus Christ and there is nothing more for which anyone has ever waited. Why should we wait for Him to arrive? Possibly the simplest reason is that we remember who we are without Him. What would you be like without having experienced His grace? How much love would you have to offer your family and friends? How capable would you be in accepting love from those that mean the most to you? Without Him, what would we be like? Isolated. Hurtful. Selfish. Defensive. Hardened.
We have the privilege in advent to wait and to be reminded of who we are with Him. We may be broken, but He heals the brokenhearted. We may feel lonely, but He will never abandon us. Anything else that we wait for will not provide what He can. We wait for the One who knows us completely and still He comes. And He would if you were the only one here. Why would He be that faithful? That interested…in us? Some things are worth the wait.
In the midst of this waiting, we are called to prepare. Isaiah 40:3 states ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ What am I supposed to do to prepare for His coming? Honestly, I look forward to learning more about this myself. I have no experience in straightening desert highways. In John 12, some chose to lay down palm branches upon his immediate arrival on a donkey, but this would lead me to holiday confusion. Whether true or not, one of my favorite sayings attributed to St. Francis was, ‘Speak of Christ often, use words when necessary.’ While we are called to faith, I find comfort in the balance of being called to action. Preparation is the action and St. Francis has the closing words on how we can prepare in this time of waiting. Peace to you as we enter this advent season together.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
~ Eric Bland