Advent: waiting for …
I have to confess I do not like waiting.
It may be just the society we live in - we feel we should have instant everything! Or, more positively, it may be that I do not like wasting anything. And the worst thing to waste is time, the most valuable resource we have.
So I grew up trying to fill every gap. And the more I went through “management training” in various businesses the more it seemed we have to eliminate waste and be efficient, almost to the point of treating people as though they are machines.
Yet nowadays I realise how important it is to wait actively.
It can seem the main thing about waiting is not having whatever it is we are waiting for. But I have realised it can be a very positive experience. It can be a time of preparation. It can be filled with hope and expectancy.
In a business context, the best management thinking nowadays looks not just at eliminating waste but how each business, team and person can fulfil their true purpose. So waiting can be time to explore the human dimension of work and enjoy being a human being, not a machine or a mere ‘human doing!”
Waiting is natural. A mother waits nine months for a child to be born. Mary waited after the strange encounter with an angel to see what would happen. Then, as she knew she was pregnant and had to explain it to her intending husband, she waited for the birth and to see what might happen to such a unique boy.
Pregnancy is not a time of anxiously wishing the time away and longing for the baby to be born prematurely. It is a time of preparation and anticipation. It is a time of hope and maybe fears too.
This season of Advent has been used for centuries as a time to wait actively, to prepare for Jesus’ coming. It is not just time to get decorations up and to buy presents. More important it is time to prepare our hearts to be ready to meet Him.
We do not know when He will return and people who claim to have an inside track on the timing are bound to be wrong (see Mark 13:32 - no one knows!). But we know He will return. And in the meantime He comes to us by His Spirit as we welcome Him.
Advent is a time to welcome the Holy Spirit and to prepare our hearts. As the old Christmas carol/hymn “Joy to the World” puts it, “Let every heart prepare Him room!”