I don’t enjoy waiting. I think it’s because I am a product of the American Culture. I have been raised and bred on having it my way right away. I grew up thinking that all family problems could be solved in thirty minutes (well, actually twenty-three without commercials) because it always worked for the Cosbys. I’ve come to believe that fast food is not only convenient, it is good (food was not supposed to be cooked in less than 30 seconds). When I am at a store I search for the shortest checkout line and then once I pick one I watch the other lines to make sure I chose wisely. I dislike being stuck in traffic, extending my trip by minutes as I slowly make my way to my destination one traffic light at a time. I don’t like waiting.
However, one of the major parts of the Advent season is waiting. Not just waiting to open presents or enjoy some time off work, but waiting for Jesus. Waiting for the coming King of Kings. Waiting for the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Root of David who was going to make things right. Waiting, because even though sin became a reality years ago when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit because they wanted to be god and make their own decisions, God waited a couple thousand years before he came to redeem humanity. Waiting, because even though the child was coming it would take another thirty-three years before sin and death were defeated. Waiting.
Imagine what it was like for Mary, who wasn’t just waiting for nine months to meet her child and hold her child, she was waiting for nine months to meet the holy child, the promised child. Imagine the anticipation she had as she waited for the King.
Imagine what it was like for the wise men who saw the star in the east and then set out on a journey to find the baby. Travel was not easy, it was a long and dangerous trip. Imagine the anticipation as night after night they camped knowing they were one day closer to seeing the King.
Imagine what it was like for Anna and Simeon who had been waiting for the promised Messiah. They were old but God had promised they would see the child. Imagine the anticipation as day after day, year after year they went to the temple wondering if this would be the day they met the King.
And just like those who went before us, we wait. We still go about our lives, heading to work, buying groceries, paying our bills, cleaning the house. Yet the whole time we know we are waiting. We are waiting for Christmas and the celebration of the child. We are waiting for God to fulfill his promises. We are waiting in anticipation that soon our wait will be over and the Messiah will be here.
At the same time we anxiously await the second coming of Christ. We anxiously await the time when all will be made right. When the lion and the lamb will lie down together, when nation will not rise up against nation and when peace will fully reign. We await the new Heaven and the new Earth, when God makes all things new and right and we reign with God for ever and ever.
But until that time, we wait. And while we wait we pray that God would slowly mold our hearts into people who are no longer in a hurry. People who are no longer rushing from one activity to another. People who are not just looking for fast food or fast lines or fast solutions to their problems. But instead, while we wait may we learn to slow down, to relax, and to enjoy the moment. To realize that fast is not always good and that every breath is a chance for us to enjoy the blessing of life and to experience time with the creator. While we wait may we have eyes to see and ears to hear God more clearly and how we can join him in being a blessing to the world around us.
Maybe an important part of the Advent season is not to rush and rush to buy the perfect gift, but to learn to wait and enjoy the blessings we already have.
I don’t like waiting…but I am learning to wait, I am enjoying the wait, and it is good for my soul.
And so we wait.