“… but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
“Joseph waited, Sarah waited, Abraham waited, Hannah waited, Moses waited. Jesus waited 30 years.
“If God is making you wait, you’re in good company.”
This is my confession. I do not like waiting. There, I said it. I love online banking, one-click shopping and next-day delivery, drive-thru lines and let’s never forget curbside pickup. I call in my request, they tell me the exact time the order will be ready, and as I drive up in my car, the waiter is already coming up to my car with my order. No waiting, no loss of time.
However, even with these modern conveniences, I am reminded of my mother’s wise words that would prepare me for life, “Sheila, waiting is a part of life, and sometimes you will have no control over it. But you can control how you wait by what you do in the meantime.”
Waiting is an inevitable part of life. It suspends our schedules and puts us in this limbo. This past year, much like 2020, has been an extended experience in the art of waiting. Waiting for updates on COVID-19, waiting on lockdowns, waiting on news reports, waiting for lifting of restrictions, waiting on election results, waiting on jury verdicts. This season has made us slow down and wait. If hurry up and wait was a person, it would be 2021.
But there is a sacredness in waiting.
Advent is the season that calls us to do just that … during one of the busiest times of the year. Advent is revolutionary and even countercultural in that it resists society’s need for instant replies, response, delivery and gratification. As we anticipate the birth of Christ, there is holiness in waiting.
Waiting forces us to stop, slow down and ponder. Waiting forces us to face our inner thoughts and voice. One of the outcomes that have emerged during this extended waiting is what has been called “The Great Resignation” (a term coined by Anthony Klotz) — where massive numbers of Americans resigned from their jobs.
During the pandemic with waits, lockdowns and life-changing experiences, people really had the time and the motivation to sit back and say, “Do I like the trajectory of my life? Am I pursuing a life that brings me well-being?” During the wait, they were able to release weight.
Advent calls us to wait and release weights. Waiting calls us to release the weight of rushing. Waiting calls us to release the wait of pre-planned expectations. Waiting invites us to release the weight of having all the answers.
During the wait, Advent invites us to light the candles of hope, joy, faith, peace and the Christ Candle which represents Christ coming into the world. Christ is always worth waiting for.
Embrace the invitation to use the wait as an opportunity to release the weight.
This Advent journey requires moments of waiting, those unexpected and unwanted pauses that may seem to stop the journey. Please continue to remind us that the waits also give us the opportunities to discern and recognize some weights. Give us the courage to release any weights that hold us back. Help us remember to learn the lesson in this season.
Ashe and Amen
Waiting for the lessons in the waiting,
Rev. Sheila P. Spencer
Rev. Sheila P. Spencer is an author, poet, teacher and preacher. You can contact her at CustomMadeInspiration@gmail.com and her website is www.sheilapspencer.com.