Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Waiting. We spend so much of our lives waiting. Waiting for the end of the school day or workday. Waiting for dinnertime. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for vacation. Waiting for special events. Waiting in line. Waiting for better weather. Waiting in traffic. Waiting for gas prices to go down. Waiting for an appointment. Waiting for test results. Waiting for healing. Waiting for the economy to turn around. Waiting for a court date. Waiting for an end to legal disputes. Waiting for prayers to be answered. The waiting seems endless.
Meanwhile, our culture tells us we shouldn’t have to wait. If we can’t have it now, then it’s not worth having. Living in rural Michigan, the fastest I could get something from Amazon was 2-day delivery. Now, if I can’t get it the same day or next day, I get frustrated that it’s not available soon enough. My daughter doesn’t know what she wants for her birthday or Christmas most years because she rarely has to wait to get anything she wants. We provide her with her needs, and if there’s something she wants at the store, we’ll often buy it for her as long as it’s worthwhile. When it comes to Christmas shopping, we don’t even have to wait for Black Friday anymore; the deals started right after Halloween. This immediate gratification culture has only made unavoidable waiting feel so much worse.
During this Advent season, we are called to embrace the waiting. We wait for Christ to come, and this waiting is threefold: we wait for Christ to come as a celebration of the historical birth of Jesus, we wait for Christ to come to us in the Eucharist, and we wait for Christ to come at the end of time.
But unlike much of the waiting in our world today, this waiting isn’t meant to be faced with impatience, worry, or fear. We are called to wait with hope and with joyful anticipation of Christ’s coming. This is the child we’ve been waiting for, the savior of the world! As we hear in Isaiah, “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
This kind of hopeful waiting gives us peace and stability, knowing that there is something more to come. We are reminded that the light of Christ will never be overcome by fear and darkness. Instead, the light of Christ shines brighter, giving us hope, and sustaining and strengthening us for anything that lies ahead.
Perhaps we could learn something about waiting from our Advent season. What might it be like if our waiting in daily life was marked not by fear or anxiety, but by hope and trust in God? Perhaps as we waited for the end of the workday, we’d find ourselves feeling thankful that God provided a job and a livelihood for us, and that God gives us time for rest. As we wait for test results, perhaps we’re reminded that our lives rest in God’s hands, and nothing can separate us from God’ love and promise of eternal life. Perhaps as we await an end to legal disputes, we can trust God’s Spirit to continue to move in this church, and to speak to us words of wisdom, courage, and perseverance.
It’s so easy to be overcome by the darkness in the world, and to let our waiting be filled with doom and gloom. But God promises that Christ is our light, and the light of Christ dispels all darkness. We are called to hopeful waiting. We are called to joyfully anticipate Christ’s coming and the kingdom that he brings.
I wish you an Advent season filled with hope and trust in God’s promises.
Rev. Jessica Hahn