It is a common refrain from those of us who observe the liturgical calendar this time of year: Advent is a time of waiting. We remember Israel’s waiting for Jesus to come. We prepare ourselves for Christmas. We wait for His coming again in glory. It is not an extended Christmas, but a season of its own.
Never has this come home to me more than living with a two-year-old!
On the First Sunday of Advent, we lit the candle on the Advent wreath at home.
‘Light the other candles, Mummy?’
My wife explained that we were only going to light one for the week. If only the concept of a ‘week’ were in his vocabulary.
Then the Advent calendar.
‘Open another window?’
Not until tomorrow.
By now, he has adjusted to the progressive lighting of candles. But yesterday, he wanted the Advent calendar more than once. He likes opening the doors, I guess!
Aren’t we all two-year-olds? And I don’t just mean those lead singers of bands at church who greet us with, ‘Merry Christmas!’ on the First Sunday of Advent. We want everything at once, now, immediately. We want our paycheque now. Cooking is an obstacle to eating. We pay extra for Amazon Prime to get stuff quicker. Who wants delayed gratification in a culture of overabundance?
Likewise spiritually. I want to be mature, but I don’t want to go through with the disciplines. I want holiness, sure. But I want it now, not after hours or years at prayer.
The people of God waited 2000 years from Abraham to the Incarnation of God the Son.
And now we have waited 2000 more for His return.
God moves slowly (or so it seems to us).
Maybe we should, too. Let’s take some time this Advent to slow down and wait for God.