This past Saturday morning I was driving to church for orchestra and choir practice in preparation for Lessons and Carols. There was a very small layer of snow on the roads and cars were going fifteen to twenty miles under the speed limit. I began waiting impatiently for opportunities to make a turn or for four lane roads. Nothing. The whole drive to church was a test in waiting.
"Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD" (Psalm 27:14). What is the longest you have had to wait for something? Growing up, the longest I had to wait was twenty-five days, because once December 1 turned on the calendar, giving and receiving gifts were the only things I thought about. Perhaps many of us have a memory of Christmas Eve as a child; squeezing your eyes shut, trying with all your might to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. And so you counted sheep, tossed and turned in bed, and waited.
Waiting is still difficult. We expect everything to be at our fingertips the moment we have the desire for it. It is a world we are growing into and can become addicting. We live in a world of easy downloads, instantaneous email, on demand, and food prepared in a few minutes. Yet God finds ways of making us wait. Waiting and faith go hand-in-hand. Waiting for the baby we have dreamed of that we would hold in our arms. Waiting to hear we are offered our “dream job”. Waiting for the phone to ring to hear a good diagnosis.
Waiting is the epitome of faith. In Hebrews 11:13, there is a reminder that faith involves trust in God's promise even if the promises of God are fulfilled long after we are gone. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
Advent is about faith and waiting. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Noah, and others waited thousand of years for that promise. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. Because of impatiently waiting, there appeared to be years of silence as God's people waited for the Messiah. The story of Jesus' birth gives us assurance and joy because God’s promise was fulfilled after all the waiting.
Now, Jesus was born over 2,000 years ago, and even though we celebrate that birth once a year, He is still with each of us every single day. A son given for our sin. A child born for our disobedience. Jesus comes into the world to love us, to prove He is good above all, and to the waiting heart – to give us peace. Peace is not about the absence of trauma, fear, or insecurity. Peace is about resting in who God says he is, even when the world feels like it is falling apart. God is here. His peace means that the waiting will be worth it in the end, even when it may feel hard now.
Even though we live in a world of immediate answers and satisfaction, we wait. It is very interesting how much waiting truly does occur in our daily lives, if we think about it. So as we wait, let us focus our hearts on Christ, let us thank God for sending Him to save us, and let us expectantly await His return. Let us just wait.