The sacredness of waiting

Published 8:03 am Friday, December 11, 2009

Our community, in the midst of the Advent Season, waits. We wait for the next cycle of news to come, eerily aware that the previous news cycles have not been kind to us, and not confident of what is to come. We appear to be bracing for more bad news, but then we remember that God is the author of “Good News,” which we so desperately want to hear. Our lives are full of contradictions, and in our hurriedness, we seek God, but are hard pressed to find him. What are we to do?

I recommend that we remember the huge investment of time and resources that we gave our children. Recall the excitement and expectation before the child was born and all the questions that came to mind; “What will we call our little boy (girl)? How do we know how to take care of a child? Is there an online instruction book? Will they ever quit crying? Why do people who do not have children always have “constructive advice” on our child-rearing techniques?

When we recall the energy and effort that we placed on our children, a new reality confronts us — maybe the entire world does not revolve around us after all! Most of us function more efficiently when we place the needs of others ahead of ours. It is when our attention is not on ourselves that we can see other people as they really are, and we recognize them as being a lot like us.

With our attention focused outward, we begin to see the world through the eyes of God.

We see people desperately trying to accomplish more than is humanly possible in one day. People hurry; get annoyed in traffic or in the line at the supermarket. But the worst offense is our conduct toward other people. How can we begin to please God when we can’t live peacefully with our neighbors?

The first step is to make each day a holy day. Each day is given to us by God, the author and finisher of faith. Each day is a gift that we can choose to help someone. Is it really that hard to smile and speak to people that we see each day?

History is full of people who had to wait. Today, we think of ourselves as too sophisticated or too important to wait. Our mantra seems to be — Waiting is for others! Really? If we look closely, we can see that some of God’s best work is accomplished while we wait. Perhaps it is in our waiting that God chooses to work, not on our timetable, but his. The people of Israel waited 42 generations for the Messiah to be born; numerous mothers wait countless hours before the miracle of childbirth and all of us know someone who has waited anxiously before undergoing surgery.

There is one item that all of us who wait have in common — we do not know how things will turn out for us while we are waiting. But there is that common cry during the uncertainty of waiting that is universal — we cry out to God and seek his help. We hope and anticipate that our condition will improve, but yet we wait.

Our community waits this Advent. I am certain that many are crying out, asking God to continue to bless us. For those of us who wait, there is indeed Good News — God intervened in human history in the person of Jesus Christ, and God continues to get involved in our lives.

I invite you to join me as we wait, we long, and we anticipate the birth of Christ. Join your friends and neighbors in worship. Spend more time with your family and friends.

Remember, our relationships are more valuable than any gift that we could purchase.

It is my prayer that our beloved community will be reborn into something far more beautiful, something that we cannot even begin to imagine.