Moses spoke to them, “Wait, so that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”
I have already been a bit of Ba-hum-bug this year. I pooh-poohed the Advent and Christmas decorations that went up the day after Thanksgiving, or before. It still seems too early in the season for much fanfare. The annual hanging of the church greens reminded me that the time was indeed coming. And slowly the sound and colors of advent are starting to march their way even into the ba-hum-bug of this Rev. So I did it, decorated our Women Who Speak in Church with the purple background for Advent.
It’s not that I dislike the Advent season and don’t want to see the decor or hear the familiar tunes and words. It’s not that at all. I actually like all of that. It’s just that the season is just now coming upon us. Why rush it?
We live in an instantaneous world. We crave immediate gratification. We instant message. We check our Facebook accounts multiple time a day, sometimes even in the presence of others.
Part of me thinks this is too much. If the basis of civil living is relationship, and we can not be in the presence of others without looking at our devices to connect with other people at the expense of disengaging with those we are in the presence of, then we have failed to live the basic spiritual value of the I-Thou relationship through which the holy enters our realm (Martin Buber, I-Thou). It also makes me long for the “Be Here Now” philosophy of my parents’ generation.
Advent is a season of expectation, not gratification. It is a time of waiting. That is something that is hard to do, waiting takes practice. But remember we are waiting on a baby to arrive, that is something that should not be rushed. There are still somethings that take time in the world. Things like birth, the response from a loved one we hope to hear from but may not, illness, waiting for the job interview and the response, and death. The timing of these events are normally far out of the control of human beings.
Advent. Waiting. Hoping. It is something that seems countercultural and yet there is a spiritual lesson to be learned when it is done. I have found that waiting brings a fullness, a wisdom, a maturity not able to be reached in any other way. I have experienced this personally. But I have also seen it in the faces of the very aged persons nearing the end of life whom I serve. There are somethings we can only learn in waiting. Sometimes it is the long waiting that helps us to understand that there is a difference in our time and God’s time. Sometimes it is only through settling into the waiting that we can start to hear anew God’s leading in the moment, and slowly tune ourselves to it for the journey ahead, even if the journey is one of more waiting.
This year, I challenge us all, myself included, not to rush the season. Let us pray, Loving God who knows no time help us your children, stuck in time, ignore the ticking of the clock, the passing of days, the agony of years when that is what it seems. Help us to hear you in the here and now, help us to rest in your time though we cannot comprehend it. Help us be your partners as You enter and move through the world. And when all is said and done, Lord, welcome us at last to your eternity.