Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Waiting

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: he leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tell the one at the door to keep watch. … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: "Watch!" (Mark 13:32-37)

Just a week ago Friday, I was reminded of how very far I still have to go in my Christian walk. I don’t wait well—especially in traffic. We were trying to get on the bypass off of Carpenter Dam road and because of a new batch of road construction we had to sit … and sit … and sit. I did not sit well. I wasn’t the only one. People were finding whatever place they could to turn around. But I sat and I waited—unfortunately I ran my mouth in the process: whining about this, grumbling about that. I’m pretty good at waiting on some things, pretty lousy at waiting on others.

Christmas waiting has begun. You remember making advent chains: strips of green and red paper glued into circles and strung together with just enough so that if you tear one off each day, when you tear off the last one it will be Christmas Day. Will Christmas ever get here? Kids wonder that every day … as they wait.

It seems like much of life is consumed with waiting. Men waiting on their wives. Parents waiting for school to begin, children waiting for school to end. Waiting for the 16th birthday. Waiting for graduation. Waiting for the wedding day. Waiting for the baby to come. Waiting in lines at the bank or store. Waiting for the sermon to end. Waiting.

We even name rooms for the activity: waiting rooms we call them. There’s the doctor’s waiting room, the surgery waiting room, the waiting room at the service department of the car dealership. And at fast food joints there are even parking spaces that are designed for you to pull into so that you can wait on your drive-through order without causing everyone else behind you to have to wait on you.

Waiting wears on a person after awhile. Waiting for the call to tell you if you got the job. Waiting to hear from the doctor about your tests. Waiting for a client’s response to your sales pitch. Waiting for your teenager to get home by midnight. Much of life is consumed with waiting. And we’re especially sensitive to that at Christmas.

The Bible teaches us how to wait. In our Scripture today, Jesus is teaching the church how to wait on His Second Coming. He tells us to “Be on guard!” He calls us to “Be alert!” We don’t know when He’s coming back, so we need to be ready right now. “Keep watch,” said Jesus. And in the meantime, He calls us to carry out our “assigned task.” We don’t wait by sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Our waiting is active—active in the Lord’s work: sharing faith, helping the poor, praying, loving, giving, serving. That’s how we wait—not in passive mode but in active mode.

And we wait with the assurance that one day Jesus is coming back. He won’t wait forever. And we’ll be accountable to Him for how we waited when He comes. Wait well and be blessed!

Guide to Prayer
- Give thanks that Christ is coming back and reflect on how you can best wait for him in the meantime.

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