The dictionary defines “wait” as “to look forward expectantly.” Not all of our waiting is done with anticipation. From traffic jams and delayed raises, to family unrest, much of our waiting is experienced as impatience, frustration and a simple recognition that not all is well with our world. Advent reminds us that God is still working in this world.
We wait for our deepest hopes and dreams to come to fruition. We wait for answers to our penetrating questions. In our confusion, we wait for clarity of mind and purpose. We wait for ourselves to become the person we wish we already were.
Today I find myself waiting for God’s advent fresh over in this broken world. I wait for the lion and lamb to lay down together, for the misery of war to end, for voices of hatred to be turned from loathing into compassion. I wait for our world to become a better, kinder, more gentle place. I wait for the powerful to bend an ear to the powerless. I wait for a day when there are no refugees facing the terrors of the sea or fleeing the travail of ISIS. I wait for ancient ruins to be restored. I wait for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Howard Thurman echos my thoughts in his book “The Mood of Christmas”
“Where refugees seek deliverance that never comes,
and the heart consumes itself, if it would live,
Where little children age before their time,
And life wears down the edges of the mind,
Where the old man sits with mind grown cold,
While bones and sinew, blood and cell, go slowly down to death,
Where fear companions each day’s life,
And Perfect Love seems long delayed.
Christmas is waiting to be born
In you, in me, in all (humankind)”
— from The Mood of Christmas
To wait with expectation is to wait with hope. It is to dare to dream of a just and peace- filled world. Meanwhile, the waiting time is one to work towards the dream of peace with justice, and keep alive God’s vision given to the prophet Isaiah of a day when all is possible.
“The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.”
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6 & 9
* The first Sunday of Advent is celebrated four Sundays before Christmas. The Christian Church began to recognize Advent in the early centuries. It’s purpose is to prepare ourselves through worship, prayer, and the reading of scripture, for the coming of Chris in our hearts.