|We haven’t yet had any measurable snow in Indiana so I
am hopeful and “waiting” for its beauty this holiday season.
Photo © Diane Weidenbenner
As I get older, I’m more aware that the Advent season (which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas), is a time of waiting. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” I’m waiting for the coming of Jesus.
What does it mean to “wait?” When I think of waiting, I think of it in unpleasant terms. Waiting at the doctor’s office or in line at the grocery store. Being number 12 in a line of 15 waiting to check out at Big Lots – not an experience I look forward to. Although these types of waiting can be associated with Christmas, they are not the positive “waiting” experience I am encouraged to have related to the coming of the Messiah.
I listen to WBGL radio on my drive into work, which plays Christmas music after Thanksgiving, as part of my “getting in the Christmas spirit” or “wait time.” I also tend to do a lot of thinking while in my car. Recently, I thought, “What would I do if I really believed that Christ, the newborn, was coming this Christmas?”
I do believe that God is always with me and in taking the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper, I’m reminded of Christ’s presence with me and within me. To be honest, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t think God was with me. I still have my KJV Bible with the yellowed pages and underlined verses that I read when I was 12. So, how do I return to a Christmas day joy and fullness of Christ’s first coming (into history and into my own life)?
If I were to focus this Christmas on Christ physically coming into the world, would I rush around, buying the latest gizmos and gadgets for family and friends, even if they weren’t gifts that draw them nearer to God? Would I spend more time in Bible study, prayer and reflection because I was readying my heart to receive Christ as gift (and help others do the same)? Would I decorate the house and bake cookies because I wanted to celebrate (and perhaps have the baby Jesus and his parents over for a feast), rather than “it is something that I always do this time of year?” What might I do differently and how might my attitude change if I was going to meet Jesus in the flesh?
And, what happens after Christmas? Do I go back to “business as usual,” with respect to my relationship with God? Or, does each Christmas also renew an eagerness in me for the time when Christ will come again as he has promised? How can I extend that joy and fullness of Christ’s first coming throughout the entire year, continuing to love and be loved as Christ first loved me?
The word adventus is the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. So, Advent can be a time of waiting for the coming of Christ (his birth) and also the second coming (yet to be determined).
I don’t have answers, that’s for sure. I am trying to change my motivation for why I do things this Christmas season. Perhaps then, my heart will change and become a bit more pliable and open to what God has in store for me in 2013. Until then, I’ll “wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.” Psalm 130:5