“You are supposed to feel the wait – the anticipated arrival of something you want so badly – and by feeling the wait deeply, you’ll be even more satisfied by the celebration of the arrival.” That’s a quote from the book Honest Advent by Scott Erickson.
I am experiencing “the wait” as my daughter and her husband spent the day in the hospital waiting to see if this was the day... the day where the contractions would end the wait and they would get to meet their twins! The “wait” has become urgent with the discomfort she is experiencing. The signs for delivery are present but the “wait” is still needed. So they were released from the hospital… to wait.
For our family, this real-life “waiting” period happened to align with the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season leading up to Christmas which is to prepare us for the arrival of Jesus Christ – Emmanuel – ”God with us”. Erickson's words on Advent helped me to understand the Advent metaphor in a new way.
Again for emphasis, Erickson writes, “You are supposed to feel the wait – the anticipated arrival of something you want so badly – and by feeling the wait deeply, you’ll be even more satisfied by the celebration of the arrival.”
Unlike other holiday seasons, I have cleared my calendar. In the past I may have tried to manage my “waiting” by filling my days, controlling all that I could to minimize the discomfort of waiting without control. This year I have made space to be ready when these babies enter the world, and consequently have made room to notice and enjoy all the unexpected moments along the way. Each day has been unfolding differently. I’m working to be flexible and enjoy whatever it holds and being present where I'm needed, whether that’s cooking dinner for whoever’s at my house, reading books with my grandson, shuttling grandkids between houses. It has been a season of waiting and unexpected moments of joy.
Even though He is the same Jesus, I’m waiting expectantly to meet Him again this Christmas. I anticipate new connections, new depths of relationship, new growth and wonder in the year to come. As we enter deeper into Advent, I find myself identifying with waiting in anticipation for Christ this holiday season, as I also wait expectantly to meet my new grandsons.
What are you waiting for? How are you managing your waiting? What would it be like to connect to Christ in a fresh way this Christmas?
If you are looking for a way to begin, perhaps pray the prayer below:
Advent Prayer by Henri Nouwen
Master of both the lLght and the Darkness,
send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do,
seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
We who are anxious over many things
look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people,
walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say,
"Come Lord Jesus!”
- Anne Lider