“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
I don’t know about you, but I have never been very good at waiting. Whether it is waiting in those long lines at stores or waiting on a parking space in the parking lot, it often seems that the closer something is, the more difficult it is to wait for it. In fact, our impatience seems built right into our culture and society – these days, Christmas carols and decorations usually appear even before Halloween!
And yet, the Christian season of ADVENT (from the Latin adventus, “coming” – a reference to the “coming” of Jesus in the past, present and future) encourages us to learn the hard and difficult lesson of waiting, of watching, of anticipating, and of expecting good things still to come. It encourages us to learn to wait for God to reveal Himself in His own way and time.
In the weeks leading up to our daughter Jennifer’s birth over twenty-two years ago, Trish and I both were very much on edge. The due date arrived, then passed, and I remember thinking constantly, “How much longer, Lord?!” I’m sure it was the same for the early Hebrews as they waited for the Messiah to be born, probably also thinking, “How much longer, Lord?!” And it’s the same for us today as we often ask of our problems, “How much longer, Lord?!” Maybe it’s God’s way of trying to remind us that some of the best things in life (including true, genuine fulfillment, contentment, and joy) often come only through long, hard waiting.
So, during this Advent season (which begins November 29th), I invite us all to let God teach us to wait… with patience, anticipation, and joy. One tool that can help us “wait” and prepare for the coming of Christmas is through our use of what is called an “Advent Wreath” — a circle of four candles which are progressively lit during the four Sundays of Advent, culminating in the lighting of the central white (Christ) candle on Christmas Eve. CLICK HERE for an order for a family Advent Wreath lighting that you can download and use each week leading up to Christmas. Always remember, God loves you and I do, too!