Thousands of years. That’s how long it took for the Messiah to come, or if you are Jewish, add two thousand more. Thousands of years of waiting. Waiting for the answer. The savior. The One who will pull us out of our darkness.
And I get tired of waiting for the microwave to heat up my leftover pasta.
Advent has never been a season I have appreciated on any deep level. I enjoy the symbolism of the time, and I appreciate the way the glow of flame grows with the lighting of each symbolic candle at church. But the stillness of waiting, this has been largely lost on me. I grow weary of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and just want to get to the boisterous happiness of “Joy to the World.”
My lackluster enthusiasm for Advent is ironic because I am built for anticipation. I love looking forward to things . . . so much, in fact, that I sometimes am disappointed by the actual event because I have given so much of my energy to expectation.
But this year, as I live in the results of the waiting – a farm of my own, a lovely man in my life, a book publication and the completion of a major manuscript, a pup who sleeps with her ear draped over my knee – I’ve found a new appreciation for this season. Now is when I was supposed to have these things – not before, not later. Now. When the scars and triumphs of life have shaped my heart, my will, my strength just the right way. Now is the time.
So this Advent for me is powerful, even as I find myself waiting again because waiting is, in so many senses, what life is. Here, in these days of anticipation, I settle into what I have already been given. I feel like I’m already at the manger, snuggled back into the warm straw, Meander’s heat warming my side. We have already arrived, even as we hear the donkey approach and the whispered voices of the young couple at the door.
I have been given a place to wait. It glows with anticipation.
For what are you waiting?