We spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting for someone to arrive, waiting in traffic. In these days of COVID-19 we are waiting for the pandemic to end. Some are waiting test result. Others wait for themselves or their loved ones to recover from the virus. Every day we wait for the restrictions to end and for the news to get better.
Lots of things happen to us in the process of waiting. Often, we get impatient. What we are waiting for is taking too long. Sometimes we get discouraged, wondering if what we are waiting for is worth it. Waiting can result in excitement as we think about how wonderful whatever we are waiting for will be when it finally happens. At times we also can grow afraid while we are waiting, fearing the outcome will not be good. Waiting is not easy.
In the Gospel on the First Sunday of Advent, Jesus is concerned about how his disciples would deal with waiting for his return in glory (Mark 13:33-37). His word for them is to not avoid the process of waiting by engaging in the great escape of sleep. He admonishes them to live life being watchful so they will not be caught sleeping when the master of the house returns.
Advent signals that Christmas, “the season to be jolly” as the song says, is not far away. Advent can be described as the season to be waiting. We are not waiting for Jesus to be born. That is what we celebrate on Christmas. Advent is a time to get in touch with the action of God which happens every day in our lives. We can get so caught up in the process of waiting for God to do something that we miss God’s action when it happens. Or, we find waiting so distasteful that we avoid it altogether by never thinking about how the Lord is or is not present in our lives. Sometimes we live as if we are spiritually asleep.
The Lord’s coming into our lives is not limited to certain historical times, like his birth 2,000 years ago or his return at the end of the world. His arrival into our lives is constant and eternal. He is there in all the births, the positive events of our lives, and in the deaths, those times which are difficult. It is not the event itself that signals the presence of Jesus. His presence is to be found in the solace, counsel, strength, inspiration, healing, insight or encouragement that we open ourselves to seeing in the midst of the events. Tis the season to be waiting. Let’s not miss him when he comes.
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector