In this week before Christmas, this moment of shortest days and longest nights, the message we hear most loudly is “hurry up.” Only 6 shopping days left. Only 3 days left for regular shipping. Hurry! This sale ends tonight!
And in our excitement for the holiday and our desire to escape the season’s early sunsets, we do hurry. We hurry because we are excited to spend time with our families, to share presents, and to celebrate God With Us.
But our church calendar reminds us that it is not Christmas yet. For the next few days, we continue to observe the season of Advent, the period of preparation before Christ is born. And the message of Advent, the invitation it speaks so softly, is “wait.”
It is a hard message to hear! Like any child knows who has agonized over the pieces of chocolate remaining in her Advent calendar, the waiting is harder the longer it lasts. But the waiting of Advent is a gift that brings us closer in solidarity with those who have less and wait more.
The Gifts of Waiting
When we wait, we share the experience of a child longing for Christmas morning, who has no idea that his gifts came from the Christmas Bureau.
When we wait, we honor the impatience of the homeless family at wit’s end searching, with the help of Homeless Resources, for an apartment in a city of no vacancies.
When we wait, we glimpse the suffering of the person with mental illness who seeks relief from Counseling.
When we wait, we bear witness to the endurance of the immigrant whose family members remain years from the United States as their Immigration Legal Services case processes.
When we wait, we take on the tiniest fraction of the pain felt by parents preparing to be reunified with their children through Rising Strong.
When we wait, we take on the loneliness of the widower, whose Senior Services volunteer brings welcome companionship.
Wait with Us
When we hurry, we lose the richness of the humanity we share with all of our neighbors. These last few days of Advent, wait with us, and keep in your hearts those whose waiting may not end on the 25th. The waiting will make your celebrations sweeter, and it will make your heart larger.