To wait, is to stay in one place in expectation of something. Waiting is never easy in this day and age and I think it would be safe to say that we do it badly. It can inspire the worst behavior, whether it is in traffic, or shopping, shipping, or security lines at the airport. It can also inspire despair, waiting for justice, for assistance, for long awaited promises. We expect and often times demand immediate results. In doing so we lose the sacred element of expectation: faith, hope and love. What if we could use this season of light to relish waiting, to use the pensive moments we often hate to take a beat and just relish the expectation of what is to come, instead of giving into the fear it often inspires, i.e. the unworthiness that comes when we don’t get what we want, or think we deserve?
Waiting gives us an opportunity to exercise faith, to trust, regardless of our present circumstances, that the goodness we are waiting for will come. Waiting gives us a powerful opportunity to extend that same faith toward our brothers and sisters, often inspiring the same hope in them, which, in turn gets extended out to even more people. Most importantly, though, it brings a precious opportunity to reflect on what it is we are waiting for. In the the readings for the third Sunday of Advent, Jesus asks the people, regarding John the Baptist,
What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.
Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
So, if all we celebrate this Advent is to become of any consequence at all, we must anticipate with hope, faith and love all that Jesus promised. He lived, died was resurrected so that we have, by his grace, that special place in the kingdom of heaven. If we could live in that space of anticipation, the world would become transformed. Let this truly become a season of goodwill toward all, in every moment of preparation for Christmas.