All I hear about during Advent is waiting. The word Advent implies an arrival, a coming into being. We wait for Christ’s arrival into the world, as a baby and as our Messiah. We wait for the candles on the Advent wreath to be lit each week. Even outside of church, we wait in line at the store or for a package to arrive at home. Children wait for presents (okay, adults too). What is with all this waiting? Does anyone really like waiting?
I don’t know anyone who likes to wait. What do we do when we have to wait? Check our cell phones! And why do we do that? Because we don’t like waiting! Waiting involves patience and allowing something to take place when it is supposed to take place. The hardest part about waiting is that we cannot control it. Time marches to its own pace…so goes God. Waiting means letting go of our need to control and making space for something else to happen. It feels like it goes against everything we know. Funny how God challenges us, isn’t it? What is the point of this?
Because it opens us up. When we empty ourselves of needing something to happen in our own time and in our own way, it releases us to other possibilities. Jesus is the perfect example. Paul explained it best when saying how Jesus, “existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, “(Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus emptied himself of his own humanity, and it allowed him the greatest possibility of all…oneness with God. Jesus also waited. His waiting led to resurrection. Our waiting does too.
So much emphasis is on waiting for the Baby Jesus in Advent. Of course, there is sweetness and adoration in that. But what about waiting for a relationship with Jesus? What about wanting to understand what Jesus taught and being patient with ourselves in trying to live that way? It’s a whole new way to look at waiting. Maybe Advent is waiting for ourselves to be what we wish we could be, or how God truly sees us. Maybe Advent isn’t us waiting for God, but God waiting for us. Not for us to be our perfect selves (Let’s face it…that’s not happening.). But maybe God waits for us simply to say, “Okay, God. Here I am. I am here for you.”
Be patient with yourself. Let go of whatever keeps you from God. And wait. Accept the tension of being incomplete. God’s love will always be there. May you find peace in that this Advent.
~by Kristine Rooney