"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in His word I put my hope."
- Psalm 130:5
The thing about waiting is that there's nothing to do - except wait. You can't make what you're waiting for get here faster. Depending on what you're waiting for, you can probably fill your time with other things, but even doing things that relate to whatever you're waiting for still leaves you waiting...
And waiting can be hard, especially in our day and age, when "quick" and "easy" and "ready in just 5 minutes!" are the status quo. We become impatient when we have to wait, forgetting that even if we're in the coffee shop drive-thru for 7 minutes, there was a time not too long ago where to get a cup of coffee, you had to build a fire and wait for the water to boil (not to mention fetching the water and fuel for the fire). We pop leftovers in the microwave for lunch, forgetting that in some corners of the world, women still begin cooking in the morning, just to have dinner on the table by that evening. Bread dough takes time to rise, so why make our own bread, when we can buy it? We don't feel like cooking (or don't have time to) - so we run to the grocery or thru a drive-thru, because it's quick and easy...
Waiting isn't something we really think of as being a part of the natural rhythm of our lives... but I think it should be. And that's another thing I love about Advent: it makes us slow down a little. Sure, there are things to do - trees to decorate, presents to buy and wrap, parties to plan and attend, cookies to bake - but at the end of the day, whatever we've done with our time, we're still just waiting... Waiting for Christmas to get here. Waiting for Jesus to come back. And nothing we've done or could do will hasten either of those timelines. We have to wait for it.
And it's good for us.
So the question is, this Advent, how will we wait? Will we wait impatiently? Or will we embrace the waiting? Will we allow ourselves to slow down enough to notice that we're waiting, to focus a little more intentionally on the story unfolding as Mary and Joseph start packing their bags for Bethlehem, amidst the scorn and derision of their community, and the rumors running wild about them? Will we look for the ways that God is speaking to us in this Christmas season? Will we embrace the 4 pillars of Advent - hope, peace, joy and love - and let them work their way deeper into our lives this year? Or will we let ourselves stay swept up in the tide of busyness that characterizes our world?
This season, I want to take the time to remember that no matter how crazy life gets, I am waiting for something bigger and better than any of the little things that demand my time and attention. I am waiting for Jesus. Waiting for Him to come and rescue me - waiting for Him to come back, as He said He would. Sometimes it seems like it is taking so long.... and it can be easy to lose hope when it feels like we're waiting forever.... but we need to remember that even the very act of waiting is a gift.
"...do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:8-9
If waiting a little longer means more people get to come Home with us, I'll be glad to wait. I just don't want to forget that that's what I'm doing: waiting - hopefully - and putting my trust in His Word as I wait.