Waiting for Advent

Tomorrow begins the season of Advent--the beginning of the church year. Advent is about waiting. In the biblical narrative we are waiting for the Messiah to come...in that 400+ year space between the Old Testament and the New Testament, waiting for what the prophets foretold to come true. And today we wait for the Messiah to return.

Advent is often overlooked. We tend to jump from Thanksgiving straight to Christmas (not to overlook the fact that Christmas decor has been out in stores since Halloween). Advent isn't popular. I went to find a family devotional to use during Advent, but found one choice in the Christian bookstore (there were a couple more for personal adult use, but only one option to use with kids). You won't find any Advent CDs (again we skip straight to Christmas songs, again). Outside of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" most churches sped little time in the Advent section of their hymnal.

We don't like to wait. The headlines of violence on Black Friday are a sign of that. Road Rage has come about due to our inability to wait. Wedding days don't have the magic they used to because we can't wait.

But could it be that waiting is good for us? That waiting could "develop character" as your parents might have quipped? Patience. Perseverance. Contentment. Waiting allows us to have time to reflect...on our humanity, our mortality, our blessings. Waiting, I dare say, can change us. It matters how we wait.

I'm not always good at waiting. I'm not always good at making the most of waiting. I'm doing some reflecting on waiting as I am working on a sermon for the second Sunday in Advent. I don't believe waiting means doing nothing, but that it means we are focused and intent as we wait. It may mean giving up some of our busyness in order to wait better.

As we begin this season of Advent, may the waiting be a blessing. Even if it's not always easy.

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