by Carla Dennis
Psalm 40:1 (The Message)
I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
Are we there yet? When will dinner be ready? As a child, my dad would frequently remind me that “patience is a virtue,” and I would usually snap back, “a virtue I don’t have!”
Having patience when you’re waiting is not easy. The other evening our family was waiting for Matthew’s 3rd grade production of the Nutcracker to begin, and I was asked three times about when the play was going to start (of course, after about song number six that same person also asked me when the play was going to end).
As I reflect on this year’s Advent them waiting with purpose, the concept of waiting seems contradictory to all of the hustle and bustle happening in preparation for the holidays. At work, people are rushing through end-of-the-year tasks to get to winter break. Schools have scheduled classroom parties, field trips and other events in the race to end the semester. Stores are filled with customers trying to hurry through their lists to wrap up their Christmas shopping.
It is for those reasons that I never really saw Advent as a time of waiting. The world around me seemed way too busy this time of year, and I felt way too impatient to take a pause. It was just easier to rush through Advent to get to Christmas as if I was checking things off my list. I wanted to jump to singing carols and opening Christmas presents as if the Advent candles each Sunday served as a countdown to Christmas rather than a chance to focus on the preparation for the arrival of Jesus.
Most people are not good at waiting. Waiting is often uncomfortable, and at times, boring. Sometimes when waiting for the unknown, fear can enter in. Patience during the waiting is often difficult because things feel out of control. It’s no wonder why we want to complain when we have to wait for things! Yet because we know God is in control, we can be patient. We can relax and we can wait because we know that God loves us. We can take time to pause during Advent to remind ourselves to prepare not just our homes for Christmas, but more importantly our hearts and our minds.
Prayer: Loving God, I appreciate that you are in control and that I can let go. Although everything around me feels so busy, I pray for the patience to wait with purpose this Advent season. Please grant me a calm and present heart to allow me to truly prepare for your coming.