Waiting During Advent

From William Powell Tuck’s book Lessons from Old Testament Characters.

In the Advent/Christmas season, let me encourage you to learn how to wait. I know we don’t want to do that. We think actions are always the answer and waiting is a weakness. Action seems stronger. But actions may not be the answer. We sometimes say, “Leave waiting to monks, weaklings, and mystics. Give me action.” But is it not possible that the greatest source of strength may come to us in waiting? “There is a time to wait and a time to act.” Knowing the right moment, discerning the time, is not always easy. But try we must.

So then, do not give way to despair, difficulties, depression, or whatever those low moments bear. Wait with hope and confidence because you know that God is present to bear you up. In this Advent season, that is the good news. There is good news of great joy. God has come into the world and we have seen his love. As we wait to celebrate Christmas again, remember that God loves you, sustains you, and will never abandon you. The birth of Jesus Christ reminds us that God loves us and is present to us in a special way.

Years ago when our children were preschoolers, we used to drive to church past a manger scene on a church lawn. Each Sunday our children would comment on that manger scene. It was a typical manger scene with shepherds, angels, and the small manger with the Christ child in it. The scene was on the lawn of another church. After Christmas was over, we drove past the church one day and our son, Bill, looked up and said, “They have put the Lord Jesus away until next Christmas.”

Some of us have already placed the Christmas decorations on the tree and are getting ready for Christmas. After Christmas is over, we will put them away for next Christmas having never experienced the Christ of Christmas at all. Let us wait for God’s presence to come. Let us wait with the sense of the power of God’s coming and with the assurance that in our waiting God is present. We wait with assurance and hope that God has come and is coming anew within our lives to draw us closer to God’s self. May your Christmas expectation be fulfilled in the strong sense of the presence of Christ. May the Lord Jesus not be put away for another year but be a present reality with each of us each day of the new year.

Sometimes at Christmas we can come aglow with the wonder of Christ, but then during the rest of the year we don’t seem to sense much excitement about our faith. My prayer for you and for me in this Christmas season is that we will learn to wait for God and in our waiting sense God’s presence sustaining us. It’s hard to wait. But remember to bind yourself to God. In that kind of waiting, you find real strength.

This post is an excerpt from chapter 11 of Lessons from Old Testament Characters by William Powell Tuck, forthcoming from Smyth & Helwys.

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