In its original manifestation—4th century CE—Advent was the time for converts to Christianity to prepare themselves for their baptisms at Epiphany. That ancient practice might be helpful as we try to wrestle with the current state of the world, and our place in it. Some personal thoughts….
Back in my halcyon days, waiting could feel like a waste—”So much to do and so little time.” I sometimes packed my daily calendars so tightly that there were only brief pauses between tasks or obligations. (I even completed a Steven Covey 7 Habits course to make better use of my time. Waiting didn’t fit well within that goal.)
After all my years of productive outlays of time and effort, a different kind of waiting describes my life. I wonder when all that I’ve hoped for is going to take place. How can we gather together to finally deflate despots? How long before we make the personal sacrifices necessary to solve global warming together? How and when will addictive hate-mongering defeat itself? How soon will our personal repentances mortally wound our collective self-idolatry?
Some days I get tired of waiting. When that happens, it might help if I adjust my Advent sensibilities closer to what those early Christians were thinking and doing. Using the time—contemplation and prayer—to remember my Baptism. To (re)commit my spirit to the Way of Jesus. To set aside any older adult notions that, after these decades of waiting, I somehow deserve to get what I hope for.
During this season of waiting, another reminder: “Waiting” is an active verb. Advent’s not just a quiet, peaceful season of calming attitude adjustment. The story of The Baby Jesus continued. He grew up and got to work. So can you and I. The coming return of Christ is getting closer, so there still is so much to do and so little time! I hope for all of us that this year’s Advent can be a time of expectant, active waiting—re-dedication to the premise and promise that God’s not done yet.
And neither are we….!
(To receive these entries when they are posted, go to the upper right-hand corner of the top banner and click on the three dots or parallel lines. Scroll down to the subscription form and enter your information.)