Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent XIV

We know the Advent season is a season which calls us to practice the discipline of waiting.  But, the waiting called for in the Word is not a passive thing.  Most of us would like for it to be because passive waiting requires less of us than the spiritual waiting that is both intentional and purposeful.  When Peter wrote to the early church (II Peter 3:8-15), he reminded them that the Lord delays in acting not because He is slow, but because He wants us to have time to take repentance seriously.  The fact that God has not acted to bring our human existence to an end is not about Him being slow, but about Him being merciful and patient.
We are told how to live in this waiting time in our life.  Peter writes, "...while you are waiting for these things...' and then he goes on to offer a very practical word for us.  One of the things to be sought is a heart filled with peace.  The antithesis is a heart filled with anxiety and worry.  A heart not filled with worry is a heart that has learned to trust.  Secondly, he calls us to live without the contaminating power of sin in our life.  The only way such happens is for us to take seriously the issue of honest confession and repentant spirit.  And finally, as we read we find a reminder that while we wait, we should understand that it is all about God wanting us to make the most of the time given to us.

To reflect and meditate on these Words is to realize that the waiting of Advent, the waiting for that final encounter with Christ, is not a passive thing, but something which requires much spiritual work. It is hard work.  It means painful honesty about who we are, how far we have to go, and the urgency of the moment.  There is no time for delay.  If we fail to understand the importance of this work of the heart, it may well be that we shall never find ourselves truly ready for that final encounter with the One who has the authority to welcome one of those who have been faithful.

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