The season of Advent is upon us! Every year, for the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, the church observes Advent in preparation for the advent (coming, or arrival) of Jesus. During Advent we go back to the Old Testament and enter in with God’s people as they waited for the Messiah’s first advent, in addition to our own waiting for the second advent of Jesus. It is a time filled with hope, peace, love, and joy!
But it is hard to wait for something we want so badly!
And our culture has stepped in to try and assuage our angst in waiting. In fact, every year, earlier and earlier, our culture has tried to convince us that Christmas should come whenever we want! We see on social media our friends who put up and decorate their Christmas trees in September!
Delayed gratification is almost a sin in our culture! We’ve become so self-indulgent that many of us cannot wait for anything, especially if we want it badly. In the words of Veruca Salt (of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory movie), “I want it, and I want it NOW!”
But waiting is an important discipline, even a spiritual discipline. And Advent is all about waiting.
Waiting in Advent is not about sitting around, doing nothing. It is an active waiting. Like a waiter in a restaurant, we wait on the Lord by serving Him and attending to the needs of the world He created and loves. All the while, we hold off on gratifying our own needs/wants. Like a child, waiting for their Christmas presents until Christmas morning, waiting is a good thing. It builds anticipation. It nurtures expectation. It teaches us the grace of patience.
Instant gratification is a modern adaptation of the ancient sin of avarice. It is why so many in our culture are saddled with unendurable consumer debt. “Why wait?!? Buy it now!” There is something to be said for only buying what you have the money for! I wonder how much better off we would be if we operated financially by waiting?
Waiting is a gift. God purposely put into Scripture the admonition to “wait”. Do a quick word story on the word “wait” in Scripture and you’ll see what I mean. Waiting during Advent will enhance the experience of Christmas.
So, as we wait during this season, let us keep vigilance. Watch for God’s revealing of Himself more and more in people and circumstances. And let us delay the celebration of His birth until the day.
Or at least until the night before!
In Advent Hope,