Waiting… for what?
As I am writing this, I am acutely aware today is the first day of advent and the first day of waiting. Waiting for what, or who? It’s also the first day of advent calendars. I don’t think you’re ever too old for those! I’m certainly not, especially the ones with chocolate in. At a church I used to go to there are ‘advent candles’ one for each Sunday leading up to Christmas and another for Christmas day, which is lit just after midnight and later on in the day itself. So we wait to light each candle. For me this is a really good visual representation of ‘waiting.
I spend a lot of my time waiting. Waiting to get out of bed, waiting for carers, waiting for my medication dispenser to buzz, waiting for taxis, or buses, waiting for it to be evening so I can go to bed! Most of the time, while I am waiting, I am passive; lying in bed, or sitting in my wheelchair. I like to think I’ve learned to be more patient in all this waiting, but what does the bible have to say about it?
God’s word, in a couple of clicks
I love Bible Gateway, as I can instantly search for all the verses relating to a keyword and quickly scan them, either to find the other half of a verse I am looking for but can only half remember, or to find verses relating to the subject which I may not have read before. Also I can see that ‘wait’ is mentioned 85 times in the bible. That’s a lot of waiting! Not that we should get lazy about memorising scripture! In the Psalms especially, [the person who is] waiting is expectant (Psalm 5:3), patient (Psalm 37:7) strong (Psalm 27:14) and hopeful (Psalm 130:5) we are expected to do things in our waiting, for example to use it to develop our character, as is seen from the verses mentioned here. In Lamentations, it mentions a verse I have not read before, but which seems appropriate for advent. “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3: 25-27) One more verse, which is good for this first week of Advent, is from the book of Micah (7:7). We are waiting for our salvation, but for the one who is our salvation. But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
waiting… in readiness
We are fortunate that for us, we have the benefit of hindsight. Jesus has already come, and is to come back. It is good to look back and reflect on what Jesus left behind in order to be born, and later to be our saviour and our salvation. Scanning these verses has helped me to consider the bigger picture, in a way I haven’t before. I also searched Google with the words “waiting”, and “advent” and instantly found all sorts of useful reflections and resources. Of particular interest to me is a series of short weekly reflections from ACTS (Scotland). In the introduction, the writer describes waiting in advent as “an experience of eager longing, of confidence that a promise will be fulfilled; a time to get ready for a big event”. Of course, we much use our discernment as to which resources are of benefit, as there may be as much rubbish as there is good stuff. I am thankful there is so much available with a few clicks to help me reconsider how to wait this Advent season in a way that deepens my faith and brings Glory to the Lord, and helps me consider its true meaning.