Sitting at a stoplight? Sitting (still) behind a broken stoplight that hasn’t let you go for three rounds of lights?
What about waiting rooms? Dentists, doctors, pharmacists, mechanics, hospitals, veterinarians – isn’t the waiting room worse than getting the actual work done?
And the grocery store check-out. Oh my! Adam will tell you that I linger, undecidedly, between two lines, deducing which one will be 15 seconds faster, all the while knowing that whichever line I choose will certainly be the slower line. Is it a nearly-magical skill, this discerning of the quickest check-out line? How impatient we are!
God has something to say about the patient waiters of the world. They are blessed. They are rewarded. They are dearly loved by Him, those who wait on Him. Simply by patient waiting, they exhibit a maturity in their souls that most people don’t achieve.
Advent is all about waiting, yes? We know something is coming, but it’s not here yet. At least we know what it is (the Messiah’s birth) and when it’s coming (December 25). What about those poor waiters in Israel, over 2000 years ago? They’d been waiting … oh! How they’d been waiting! What indications did they have than anything unusual was different this year? One crazy priest who claims to have talked to an angel in the temple? Mary didn’t say a thing; she kept her angelic conversation to herself; only cousin Elizabeth had an inkling of what Mary’s baby would be. All of Israel is waiting for the Messiah, and when He arrives, hardly anybody knows it.
Even after all our waiting, God reveals only what He wants to, when He wants to.
Advent reminds us how to wait for God. Wait and hope. Wait and be faithful. Dedicate your whole life to waiting. In the end, only the commonest people were really shown by God that this wriggling baby was His Son: some smelly field shepherds, and one old man and one old woman who had dedicated their entire lives to waiting in the temple for the Messiah to arrive.
How many of us wait that way?
Because He is coming a second time. We are rather ho-hum about this. Do we long for it? Pray for it? Wait eagerly for it? Dread it? Forget about it? The Messiah who came first in Bethlehem says to us, “I will come again.” We are living in this second Advent. May we be devoted as Anna and Simeon, lowly and un-worldly as shepherds, willing as Mary. What part will you play in this second Advent?