“What are you waiting for?” We usually ask this question rhetorically, when we want to encourage someone to stop hesitating, take a risk, and just get on with the thing already. This Advent, however, I’ve been taking opportunities to slow down and ask this question genuinely of my heart, my life, and my community.
Each Sunday, my husband Spencer and I have been taking time to pause, light our advent candles, read the stages of the Christmas story, and pray into the spaces of wait we currently find ourselves inhabiting. Each week we ask ourselves, together and with God, what are we waiting for? It can feel a bit like a laundry list at first: financial provision, wisdom in our careers, healing in relationships, and physical healing too. When we take the time to pause from the busy load of each day and really engage one another and God, we’re faced with the reality: there really is quite a lot we’re waiting for.
What are you waiting for? The next step in your career? Healing for you or a loved one? The next election cycle? A relationship? Stable housing? Wisdom, strength, hope, comfort, peace. There is so much we are waiting for.
While we wait for these things, and hold our waiting especially in this season of Christ’s Arriving (Advent), I am reminded of a common refrain in the Scriptures: “Wait for the Lord.” We are not, after all, as people of faith ultimately waiting just for circumstances to change. We are, in some mysterious and eternal sense, waiting for the Lord. We are waiting for Christ to arrive, again and again, and be born into the darkest, most chaotic places of our lives, communities, and world. And so, year after year, we wait. We pray. We prepare. And we pay attention. Because if we listen closely to the Christmas story, we know that Christ shows up in the most unlikely places, and in the most unexpected ways.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
“Jesus answered, ‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. […] All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’”
John 14:18-20, 25-27
Will you wait for Christ with me?