As I write, we are (already) well into the second week of Advent. As usual for me, the first week flew by. It happens every year.
Week one: I want to really get my act together this Advent season.
Week two: Yikes, week one went quickly. Better double down and work harder this week.
Week three: I think I’m finally getting somewhere and hitting my stride. Pink candle-right?
Week four: Wow-can’t believe we’re almost to Christmas. Where has the time gone?
And so it goes... this pattern of mine. And truthfully, this is a somewhat cyclical pattern throughout the year. Heck, even some 24-hour periods hold the same type of rhythm.
Good intentions, hard work, missteps, start again.
But these seasons, of Advent and Life, seem to be the most joyous when I exercise a singular practice.
With others. With circumstances. With myself.
It’s no joke that patience is considered a Virtue. And Advent may be one of the greatest opportunities to develop our spiritual patience. The season is meant to slow our busyness by waiting. And we are called to not only wait, but wait patiently and wait well. We recall in salvation history how many centuries ago our brothers and sisters in the faith, long awaited a Messiah, a Christ, a Redeemer, a “Deliverer” from the oppression of the world, and of the powers that often unjustly crushed their hope and spirits.
The prophets, including Isaiah, countered this oppression with words of courage, hope and impending victory: “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication, with divine recompense he comes to save you!” (Is. 35: 1-6, 10.) Most of the ones who heard these words never saw the Christ, but they still patiently believed with an ardent faith and a confident hope.
The same is true for us. We must wait. And God wants us to wait patiently. Not as a punishment, but as a practice to help draw us closer to the true meaning of Christmas. When we pause to light the advent candles, may we offer a prayer of thanksgiving for Christ’s light in our dark world. When we wait in a long line, may we offer silent prayers for our brothers and sisters waiting with us. When we are anxious in anticipation of impending news, may we praise God’s goodness and faithfulness, knowing He will never leave us.
Pause. Pray. Praise.
Dear Lord, waiting is hard, and waiting well seems impossible at times.
As I wait, help me to see the goodness around me, rather than feel neglected-or dismissed.
When I grow impatient, remind me how you are trustworthy and have my best interests in mind.
Thank you for all the good plans you have prepared for me.
May I patiently and joyfully await the coming of your Son at Christmas time, and humbly follow his footsteps all the way to the cross.
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