Image by CmdrFire via Flickr
Advent is the four weeks preceding Christmas and is a time of waiting and preparation for the arrival of the Christ Child. More and more church traditions are celebrating this special time of year. The next few weeks I will be posting information and reflections about the colors and meaning of Advent.
Most of us don’t like to wait. Just lingering around, watching, killing time, not sure of what lies ahead drives us crazy.
I have read that the average person will spend 5 years of his or her life waiting in line, 2 years playing telephone tag, and six months sitting at red lights.
We are not patient people. We want it now. We fill the waiting time with twitches, fiddling, and complaining.
But during Advent we do become waiting people. We pause, breath in the blues and purple of the Advent season and savor the stillness of this sacred time.
Waiting isn’t always easy but can be fruitful.
Waiting creates a space to slow down and refocus our hearts on what really matters.
Advent intensifies our patience with waiting – we know what is coming deep in our hearts – the Christ Child.
We slowly unwrap and savor Advent’s gift to us – the feeling of eager expectation of Jesus’ coming again as our King in all of His glory
Steven Covey tells a marvelous story about Chinese bamboo in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families. What a lesson in waiting:
“After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During these four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth.
But then in the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet! Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and you invest time and effort, and you do everything you can possible to nurture growth, and sometimes you don’t see anything for weeks, months and even years. But if you’re patient and keep working and nurturing, that “fifth year” will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place.”
And from John Ortberg:
“Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.”
Though not always easy, I am learning the value of waiting seasons in my life.
Wait. Watch. Be still this season of Advent. The Lord is coming. Prepare your heart for His arrival.
What has waiting taught you?