My kids wait to be allowed to eat the candy off their newly constructed gingerbread houses.
I wait in car pool lines and at bus stops. I wait at the DMV, the grocery store check out aisle, and the garage. I wait at the dentist’s office and at baseball practices. I wait for the ham to defrost, the bread to rise, the paycheck to come in, and the trash to go out.
I’ve waited for babies and dreams and a rental house that doesn’t have faux bricks falling off its kitchen walls.
I’ve waited years in between my visits home to South Africa.
I’ve waited for writing opportunities, a job that didn’t require two hours of commuting each way and for the last of my three kids to graduate from the potty to the toilet. I’m still waiting for my daughter to be able to wipe herself without an assist.
Waiting can be boring.
Waiting can hurt. It can be confusing.
When we’re waiting for a diagnosis, an end to bedtime battles, a love that understands us in the deepest part of our gut. Waiting can feel empty and desperately lonely.
It can feel worthless.
Being the one who is always waiting can defeat you from the inside.
We are quick to dismiss waiting as a waste of time. We want to be doing.
Today is December 1st. The first day of Advent. The season of waiting.
Here’s the thing — we are not actually alone in our waiting. Waiting is as intrinsic to the human condition as our DNA. The whole world and God’s own Holy Spirit are waiting with us.
The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
Advent is the season of active waiting.
Advent sets our eyes on the Savior who has promised an end to waiting, to death, to sorrow.
Advent waits for the arrival of the answer to all our unasked questions of hope and doubt and despair.
Advent is the promise: There will be an answer, and the answer is already there.
His name is Jesus.