St. Christopher's Episcopal Church
Beverly A. Tasy
Waiting For …..
As I write this, it is nearly December. Christ the King Sunday is nigh and Advent is waiting in the wings. “Waiting.” That word has appeared with alarming frequency. That word is a large part of what Advent is all about: waiting and preparing.
Let me say something about “waiting.” It seems to me that waiting is something that we like to do less and less these days. Not long ago, things we expect immediately now would take hours, days, weeks, even months to reach our “inbox.” Were we OK with that? What choice did we have? There were some very bright people who worked very hard to improve the situation. What we had to wait for is now almost instantaneous. That is really nice, a good thing. But somehow, I wonder if we have lost something with all of this instantaneousness. How willing or able are we to wait these days? Do we still understand the old phrases, “worth waiting for” and “patience is a virtue”? I know I may not always be the most patient person in the world. Sometimes I don’t want to wait for anything. Why should I have to carry around these extra papers when I drive while I wait 2 weeks for my new driver’s license?
Now that Advent is around the corner we will be celebrating “waiting.” It is important to know what or who we are waiting for. We are waiting for Jesus Christ, the messiah, our savior. We are not awaiting his birth, his first coming. He did that already. We are awaiting his second coming. Yes, this is the run-up to Christmas, Christ’s nativity. Really, it is a stand-in for the second coming. The Hebrews awaited the coming of the messiah. They waited more than a thousand years. They so looked forward to that event. They prayed and prayed and waited and waited. And when it happened, a great many missed it. They didn’t believe it. 2,000 years later they are still praying and waiting.
I don’t think too many of us are praying to hasten Jesus’ second coming. We know it will happen. There is no avoiding it. What we need to be concerned about, what we need to pray about, is how we are preparing for it while we wait. Our gospel readings over the past few weeks have centered on being awake and ready for the king, the bridegroom, the master, or even the thief in the night. Preparation is the key. How we spend our brief time here on planet Earth will determine whether or not we will be ready whenever the Lord comes for you, me, us. As Matthew relates in the gospel for Christ the King – are we going to be with the sheep or with the goats?
Our preparation is at least two-fold. We must learn and come to understand what it is that the Lord wants of us. Then we must make it a part of ourselves. We are to live out the life that the Lord expects us to live. How much have we loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? How much have we loved our neighbors as ourselves? We are to be the servants who develop their talents and invest them in the world for the greater glory of our master, the greater glory of God. Then we can enter into the joy of our master.
Jesus has been here. He is still with us. The Spirit opens us to the Lord. During our time of waiting, are we open to the Lord? Or are we spending too much time being impatient about waiting or maybe paying too much attention to our phones that we miss Jesus when he passes by?
Advent is our time to wait and prepare for the Lord. There is a lot going on, a lot that can distract us from that preparation. Don’t give up the secular aspects of the Christmas season. Just don’t forget the reason for the season and that the good feelings we try to engender now are not just for now. They are for all year, for all our lives. It makes the waiting a lot easier and much more fulfilling. Have a merry and holy Christmas.