Advent Devotional: Dec. 14, 2019

Relish the Waiting

by Joshua King
December 14, 2019

Isaiah 40:8 (NRSV): The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.

It feels appropriate to think about divine, apocalyptic transformations during Advent. We’re preparing for one of the Church’s two universe-shaking transformations: the birth of Christ, celebrated in the dead of winter, when the dark backyard at 6 p.m. can feel downright apocalyptic. This is just the time, then, to remind ourselves of Isaiah’s reminder. Everything ends. We wait for the yard to turn brown, the garden to die back, for the light to fade earlier and earlier. But there’s something after that ending. If we wait patiently, we experience the transformation of apocalypse to rebirth. We experience Christmas.

So as I go into this week, just a week and a half before Christmas, I’m working to see the familiar as something in the process of transformation. It’s not dead grass; it’s grass that’s waiting for renewal. The flowers are gone now, but they’ll push up through the ground again in spring. The lights and garlands, trees and wrapped presents all speak to waiting. Our Christmas decorations turn the rooms in our houses into spaces for glorious waiting: why wrap presents if not to enjoy the anticipation?

Christmas helps us not only bear, but relish the wait. It reminds us that even in the cold dark winter, the word of God is waiting for us, and the Word of God, Jesus Christ, arrives to bring us out of waiting into grace.

Dear God, help us be eager in our waiting. Help us see our world as a place in the process of becoming, and help us celebrate with Jesus when our long winter wait is over.