One of the major themes of Advent I promised I would talk about is “waiting.”
The Jewish people are waiting for the Messiah. We are waiting for the return of Christ.
Some expect him “soon and very soon.”
(As for me, I don’t worry my lil head about the rapture and stuff ’cause we ain’t gonna know the answer anyway!)
Every single one of us is longing for something — Someone.
What — or Who — are YOU waiting for?
— for Godot?
— to be accepted into college?
— a new job?
— your son to come home from Iraq?
— to win the lottery?
— someone to fill your loneliness?
— for news that your biopsy is benign?
— to get home after being stuck in rush hour traffic and frustrated from work?
— a letter that never comes?
There are all kinds of things we have to wait for.
Advent is about learning how to use “waiting time” well.
We can wait patiently or impatiently.
Some people want “fast access DSL” to be even faster.
But I have learned that slower is better.
When we’re waiting in line or in the doctor’s office — especially during Advent — we can go inside ourselves. Quiet our mind. Just focus on our breathing for a while or say a decade of the rosary.
Real life happens when we’re waiting for something else to happen.
Life happens between here and there.
But we have to be ready. Open. Ready to hear God speak to us in the murmured wisdom of a three-year-old.
Ready to see the evidence of God’s presence when you walk out the door in the morning.
— or even to see God in a baby in manger.
Ready and waiting for Jesus to come to us in a new way this Christmas.
Yes, life happens when we’re waiting.
When we’re not in any particular hurry.
When we’re ready to respond to whomever wants or needs our attention at the moment
— one of your children or a stranger at the Publix checkout counter.
That’s what a real Christmas is all about!
That’s what a spiritual life is all about whether you are Catholic or Hebrew or Muslim or Buddhist or non-believer.
But the most important waiting that we try to learn during the Advent season is to wait for the Lord.
Having enough faith to wait for God to act in our life on God’s time — not ours.
So, Advent is about learning patience.
It’s also about longing for something –Someone more.
About realizing as St. Augustine said:
“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, my God!“
Finally, dear friends, I share with you a song I’ve always loved from West Side Story because it captures so well the excitement / the anticipation/ the hope / the yearning / striving / hungering / thirsting DESIRE of the human race for something MORE! Someone NEW to break into our life and turn us upside down.
“Something’s Coming!” sung by Tony in West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein — a YouTube presentation.
Wish a Happy Hanukkah to your Jewish neighbors.
(Here’s an introduction to the Jewish celebration.)
Have a great day!
priest / writer