It will be said on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
– Isaiah 25:9
We live in a fast-paced world. Even now as we have fewer in-person gatherings and less holiday parties than we did before the pandemic, things still feel rushed. We want things in our lives to be instant. Thanks to cell phones, we expect people to answer immediately whenever we call. In the age of Netflix and Disney+ and ESPN Go, we expect to be able to watch anything we want with just a click of a button. We’ve gotten used to things being on demand.
Waiting is not something we do well. The last time I saw one of my little nieces, my sister apologized as her daughter broke down in tears because she couldn’t have what she wanted at that exact moment. I could tell my sister was a little embarrassed on behalf of her daughter and shyly said, “I’m sorry, we are still learning patience and how to wait.”
I get it! Toddler or not, in this fast-paced world, I feel like we are all still learning how to wait patiently. And that is why we need Advent. That’s right, we need Advent, not just Christmas. In an instant gratification world, Advent – our intentional time of waiting – is extremely radical and different. But for these four weeks of Advent, we are called to do just that, wait for the Lord. We are called to yearn for the Lord, to wait in eager expectation.
Throughout Advent, we are called to a better and a holier way – living into patience and peace. Not just as we wait for the coming of the Christ child, but as we deal with one another, as we navigate extended family, and make plans in the midst of pandemic. We are called to watch, we are called to wait, we are encouraged to live into those feelings of eagerness, and to hone our practice of patience.
In a year that has been so dark for so many of us, it can be easy to rush to Christmas morning and the miracle of Christ’s birth. But the miracle of Advent is the central belief of Christianity – not that we love God, but that God loves us. May we relish in that love, passing it on to our neighbors, as we await the coming of Christ.
Grace and peace,