Waiting…..it feels like we as a culture have lost patience with waiting. Our smart phones give us immediate access to anyone and anything we could want; our microwaves allow us to provide sustenance to ourselves (and our households) without the time it takes for a home cooked meal to be prepared. We have “self check out” lines in stores so we don’t even have to wait for a cashier.
My youngest daughter is enamored with the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. One of her favorites (and mine too, honestly) is called Waiting is Not Easy. In this book, Piggie wants to surprise her friend Gerald (the Elephant), but Gerald hates waiting. His moans and groans during his forced waiting are hilarious. In the end (I won’t spoil it all), Gerald finds out that Piggie’s surprise was more than worth the wait. In fact, it couldn’t even be enjoyed without the wait. Try as we may to eliminate waiting from our lives, sometimes it is absolutely necessary.
When it comes to art, waiting is often essential. Great works of art are not created in a brief moment. Appreciating art doesn’t happen in a fly by glance. We need time to create, time to enjoy, time to ponder.
The waiting of Advent
We are currently in the season of Advent, traditionally observed by the church universal as a time of waiting – waiting for the coming of the Messiah, of Jesus the Christ. First, as a celebration of His coming at Christmas, but also as a looking forward to His second coming at the end of time. I find it interesting that in a culture so obsessed with NOT waiting, the observation of Advent has fallen out of favor in many churches and families.
Here in our family, we do observe Advent. We started our advent wreath this past Sunday. And we begin our advent calendar on December 1st. We try to combine a countdown of fun activities with decorations for a small Christmas tree in my daughters’ room and a nightly devotional reading.
The wreath, the calendar, the decorations, the lights, all the visual trimmings that go along with this season bring a sense of wonder and beauty to our world. Children in particular are easily engaged through these tangible representations and through both the visual symbols and the devotional readings, we want to cultivate in our family a deep sense of delight in the waiting. The waiting will be worth it when the celebration of Christmas arrives. Not for the gifts, not even for the family that will be gathered in our home. The real joy will be found in the True Gift, the baby in a manger. That same baby who is our one day returning King. The waiting will be worth it.
Are you waiting?
What about you? Do you dread the busy-ness of the holiday season. Maybe you’ve lost a family member and celebrating Christmas without them just doesn’t even seem doable this year. Maybe you just do Santa but don’t want to be bothered with all the “Jesus” stuff. Perhaps you celebrate Hannukah or Yule or nothing. Can I boldly challenge you to try one of the devotionals I linked to earlier? I know it may be WAY outside of your comfort zone. It may even make you angry that I would suggest it. But in this time of waiting, there is hope to be found. There is comfort and joy in abundance for the Lord is indeed come.
What are you waiting for?