Waiting is not a popular activity with very many people. There are those who are resigned to the length of a checkout line in a store, and stand there, slightly zoned out, enduring the wait because it's the only way they can take home the groceries or other merchandise they've selected and put in the cart. There are those who fidget and heave gusty sighs, craning to see why the line is moving so slowly. And, of course, when a person ahead of you in the express lane places a number of items on the counter (and not just a couple!) over the posted limit we feel entitled to look pointedly at the offending purchase.
December 20, 2015
"What Are We Waiting For?"
On the opposite end of the waiting spectrum, there are those who find a way to entertain themselves, making a long wait into a fun activity. They camp out in a parking lot, or in front of a building, waiting for tickets to go on sale for a much-anticipated event, or to get great bargains on a limited number of expensive gifts. It takes an enthusiastic, and probably youthful attitude, to take part in this form of waiting.
These four weeks of Advent make references to waiting, anticipating, and getting ready for the arrival of the promised Messiah. In the here and now of the 21st century, it's easy to think, "We know the sweet, remarkable story of humble birth, the angel chorus, the amazed shepherds, and the declaration that this child was indeed the Messiah. What do we need to get ready for?"
Please consider our very human need for renewal, for reminders, and to be refreshed as we go about our daily lives. Just knowing - and even believing - something doesn't mean we know it all or are able to believe on a truly deep level. When we sing, pray, listen, and reflect on this season of anticipation, our hearts are opened, and once again we marvel at the gift of God in human form, come to earth to teach and to save us, and all humanity.
References to waiting are easily found in the Bible, from Genesis almost to the end of the New Testament. Psalm 27:14 tells us: "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" The margin note in the Lutheran Study Bible has an interesting explanation of the phrase, "wait for the Lord" as it means to maintain hope that God will arrive, and also refrain from going one's own way. So we aren't just standing in line, just wishing it would move along and we could get this whole waiting thing over with -- we are people with hope and assurance that, as our choir sang last Sunday, "Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!" Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Your friend in Christ,