Advent is The Season of Waiting
During the advent season the church I attended (before COVID) would gather outside the building before the service started. We called this the waiting room because advent is the season of waiting. Here, the community with gather in anticipation for the warmth of the building and the spiritual effects that a Sunday evening service has. We would drink warm beverages, catch up with old friends and shiver through our teeth with expectation of a sigh of relief.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a sigh of relief this year.
The majority of 2020 has felt like being in a waiting room. Waiting to see if you have COVID, waiting to see if your job would make it, waiting to see your family, waiting on the world to start back up again and keep moving forward. And now, we’re in waiting for a Christmas season that will look different from any other year we’ve celebrated.
It makes you think back to the ancestors before us. To the stories in the Bible of Isiah waiting for his prophecy to come true. Moses, waiting 40 years in the desert with people who didn’t appreciate this newfound freedom. Noah, waiting 40 days in a smelly boat through the worst rainstorm this world has ever seen. Jonah, waiting in the whale of a mouth (see, 2020 could get worst).
Even in more recent years, I think of my grandparents in World War 2 waiting to spend holidays with loved ones again, waiting to see if they would survive, waiting for the war to be over. I then think about the women I know who are waiting desperately to have children or the friends that are waiting for the grieving of a loved one to stop.
It seems that there is always some waiting to be had.
So what does this season of Advent teach us? That we’re all in the same boat.
Like the millions of people that came before us, we are all in waiting for something. Waiting for the good news. Advent is the season of waiting for the best good news there is. A promise from the Divine fulfilled.
Whether you believe in the Christian faith or not, Christmas is a season of good news. The giving nature that grows within a community. The remembrance of holidays from our childhood and loved ones who are no longer with us.
Advent is the season of waiting because it invites everyone, Christian or otherwise, into the waiting room to wait together. Sipping hot cocoa and catching up with old friends. Shaking in our boots from a year that has left us out in the cold waiting for good news. All in anticipation for the pastor to invite us in, or the father to come out and announce that it’s a boy. Better yet, the waiting room is outside of a dingy stable filled with smelly animals on a cold evening under a brightly light sky. Here we wait for the father to come out and announce that the good news is born and hope has entered back into our lives.
As one of my favorite Christmas movies says “That’s the real meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.”