Sunday our church celebrated the third Sunday of Advent. Advent is from the Latin word, adventus, which means ‘coming.’ Advent is a season of waiting, waiting for the coming Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of David, the One who will be scarred by the serpent but who will destroy the serpent.
Waiting is not something in which we are skilled. Hurry seems to better describe our patterns of life. Waiting seems like a waste of valuable time. And yet…
In the scheme of God’s creation, He built in a day of rest every seven days. In six days God created all that is. On the seventh day He rested. In the 10 Commandments, the ‘constitution’ of God’s people, the seventh day is to be recognized as holy, set apart to the Lord. Over the centuries we read how God’s people drifted into busyness, into patterns of life that had no margin for rest. The gospels record that even Jesus withdrew from the crowds from time to time, that even Jesus admitted to weariness and the need to just sit and rest (see John 4).
Why then do I struggle with the idea of ‘rest,’ ‘waiting?’ I could blame our culture. Since the invention of the microwave meals can be ready within minutes instead of hours. Fast food restaurants are visible at almost every intersection of the highways that we fine necessary for travel. Even the words ‘highway’ and ‘freeway’ point to our constant striving to get somewhere in a hurry. Now we have app’s on our phone to show us the quickest and most direct route to our destination (I admit that last time I was in Southern California I relied heavily on WAZE to navigate traffic slowdowns!)
I could blame our current practice of how to do ‘church.’ Busy-ness = success, right? Or perhaps I could blame the economic climate – higher costs for goods create a demand for more income which leads to a pressure to work more hours, to seek out additional ways to create income.
I could also just be honest. The problem is not fast food restaurants or microwaves; travel demands or economic challenges. No, the problem is me, myself and I. Though Jesus Christ lives in me by the power and promise of the Holy Spirit I still find myself stuck in patterns of thinking that undermine the truth that in Christ God has fully accepted me. I still try and earn my place in God’s family by working harder, longer, and ignoring the simple pleasure of just being in Christ.
I don’t think I’m alone! As we ‘wait’ for Christmas, as we await the unveiling of all that God is for us in Jesus Christ at the final trumpet, let’s live unhurried lives filled with anticipation as John, one of Jesus’ earliest followers, reminds us, “Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are!” (1 John 3:1, HCSB)