Have you ever thought about waiting? I mean, have you ever thought about how waiting is done. Sometimes waiting is a very boring activity. Waiting in line at the post office, waiting in traffic when you are trying to get somewhere important, waiting in the doctor's office or in the little room they put you in telling you that the doctor will see you shortly. Those are all examples of waiting that can bring about impatience. We are not good waiters when it comes to waiting that seems to waste our time. I am among the chief of impatient people when I think my time is being wasted by people who cannot seem to recognize the inadequacies of their system. Waiting that fits into this category is a bane on society, I think.
Then, there is waiting in anticipation of someone or something. Waiting for company to arrive--waiting that involves looking out windows or preparing the house or cooking a meal--waiting that is being done with a specific purpose or reason in mind. Waiting for a refund or rebate to come in the mail--checking the mailbox daily in anticipation that soon our waiting will be rewarded. Waiting for a loved one to come home after being gone for a length of time--such as one who is in the military and has been on duty and now is coming home at last. That is an entirely different kind of waiting. It is watchful waiting.
Advent is a season of waiting but it fits into the second category of waiting. It is watchful waiting that provides us time to reflect upon what this season is actually about and how our lives are affected by it and how it provides opportunities for mission and ministry in our community and around the world. Advent is not Christmas. Christmas comes on December 25--until that date we are officially in our waiting mode, a time of expectation and preparation for the event soon to come.
We wait in anticipation of the one who has come, is coming, and will come every day. Jesus came about 2000 years ago as an infant in a cattle stall. He lived as a human for about 33 years and then died and went away. He came as the Holy Spirit to inhabit the world and the lives of humans. He comes into our hearts and lives daily as we show God's love to all in our world in the ways we know how to do. Jesus' coming is an ever present reality that occurs again and again. Our waiting in Advent is for opportunities to experience the coming of Jesus in our lives and in the lives of others. That happens in multitudes of ways as we share ourselves with those around us.