We Americans hate to wait. Whatever we want, we want it now. Pay-per-view. One-click shopping. Smart phones. Drive-through restaurants. If there's a line, or an outage, or a delay, you can bet there will be backlash. Quite literally, waiting has become un-American. Which makes Advent such a peculiar season.
During Advent, we wait.
Christmas is, of course, a joyous celebration of the arrival of hope, of restoration, of salvation -- of Jesus. But liturgical traditions identify the season leading up to Christmas, Advent, as a time for waiting. In the Christian tradition, the world without Christ is divided, self-indulgent, vengeful, violent, and slanderous. Human relationships function incorrectly. Humans abuse the natural environment. Governments oppress. Wars rage. Children go hungry. Diseases infect.
Jesus, we believe, changes everything.
But while the incarnation sets into motion the final redemption of the cosmos, the curse still rages on. While God's people welcome the kingdom in all its manifestations, it has not yet come in all its fullness.
And so we wait.
I have enjoyed reading various tweets along these lines, many of which are tagged #waiting2010. They are prayers rising digitally to God on behalf of our world, ourselves, our environment, and our communities. They are all reflecting one resounding longing: Come, Emmanuel.
12/7 Pearl Harbor: waiting for day we make memorials not for those who gave their lives and but for those who benefited others
I'm waiting for it to be 100% natural for shoppers to ask who made this stuff, how they were treated, what they were paid
Waiting for the morning to bring joy for everyone in the same way it does for my daughter.
Waiting for wisdom & discernment this morning...and in the future.
Waiting for the end of fear.
Waiting for the end of "necessary evils".
is waiting for the day when women (and men too) are no longer abused by those who are supposed to love and cherish them...
I'm waiting for everyone to behold God's beauty
Finally, brother after while, the battle will be over; for that day when we shall lay down our burdens and study war no more.
Waiting for it to not be so revolutionary to "pay it forward"
is waiting for the day when I will have this patience thing figured out, and I can embrace waiting as a way of life...
Waiting for Americans to spend as much out of our own pockets on global human need as we do on Christmas gifts (~$450 billion).
Waiting to meet my sisters and brothers.
Waiting for anyone who is lost to be found.
is waiting for the day when our church bldgs are as full of life all 7 days a week as they are a couple of hours Sun. morning!
Waiting for someone in this world to have some empathy.
Waiting for the day when distance can no longer separate us.
Waiting until we can face death without fear or sense of failure.
I'll add mine: Waiting for the day when we will wait no more. Lord, come quickly.
What are you waiting for?
Steve Holt seeks joy and justice in East Boston, Massachusetts. Steve enjoys gardening, being a husband, community life, and writing. He blogs about spirituality and his garden at harvestboston.wordpress.com.