Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Advent is a season of waiting. Of course, waiting is not the favorite pastime of anyone. We abhor it. Waiting is a waste of time. Folks attempt to diminish the emotional anguish experienced by a period of waiting by getting out all those hand e-devices, but when it is all said and done, it is still waiting. We wait at the stoplight. We wait in the doctor's office. We wait in the checkout outline. But, no matter where we wait, we seldom do any of it gracefully. Outwardly we do it, but inwardly we are pushing forward, trying to hurry everyone and everything so our time of waiting is limited. It is a terrible burden we bear!
So, here is this season on the Christian calendar which not only calls us to enter into a time of waiting, but also invites us to embrace it. The waiting of Advent is not a passive thing. To wait in the spirit of Advent does not mean to sit idle, fiddling thumbs, watching the clock, and doing nothing. Neither is the waiting of Advent to be filled with things which keep us from experiencing the waiting. The gospel lesson (Matthew 24:36-44) reminds us that our entertaining and time killing obsession with the mundane pursuits of life is a poor substitute for the kind of waiting which actually makes us ready for what God is holding out in our future. Some of the Noah crowd tried life that way and found it to be lacking.
No, the waiting of Advent is actually a purposeful waiting. At some point we will all stand in the presence of Jesus, the Lord and King of all creation. This moment will come at our death or upon His return to the earth. We can know the certainty of that encounter, but not the time. It will come to us like an unexpected surprise. Becoming ready for that moment is what the waiting of this life is all about. See the span of our years as a waiting period for this final moment and suddenly life is viewed and lived differently.