Advent: Thank you for Waiting

What is Advent and Why does it matter?

Yesterday I was checking out at the grocery store. They were short on help so the woman in front of me bagged her own groceries, which may have taken longer than would be expected. The entire time she was quickly throwing her perishables in plastic bags, she was apologizing and thanking me for waiting. When she finished, hurrying out the automatic doors, the cashier thanked me no less than three times. 

“Thank you for waiting.”

“Thank you for waiting.”

“Thank you for waiting.”

What is so hard about waiting that I was made to feel like a saint for simply NOT swinging my purse over my head in circles like a Roman Gladiator? I just stood there, I didn’t say anything in response. It was actually kind of jarring.  Why are we being thanked for waiting - and in December, no less? 

I will tell you why.

Because we have lost touch with the Season - we have forgotten the importance, the blessed-ness, of waiting. Check this out, from Gertrud Mueller Nelson’s To Dance with God - 

“Waiting,  because it will always be with us, can be made a work of art, and the season of Advent invites us to underscore and understand with a new patience that very feminine state of being: waiting. Our masculine world wants to blast away waiting from our lives. Instant gratification has become our constitutional right and delay an aberration. We equate waiting with wasting. So we build Concord planes, drink instant coffee, roll out green plastic and call it turf, and reach for the phone before we reach for the pen. The more life asks us to wait, the more we anxiously hurry. The tempo of haste in which we live has less to do with being on time or the efficiency of a busy life - it has more to do with our being unable to wait. Waiting is unpractical time good for nothing but mysteriously necessary to all that is becoming. As in a pregnancy, nothing of value comes into being without a period of quiet incubation: not a healthy baby, not a loving relationship, not a reconciliation, a new understanding….Rather, a shortened period of incubation brings forth what is not whole or strong.” 

So what is Advent? 

In a nutshell, Advent is the 24 day stretch before Christmas. It is a period of preparation that readies us to receive Emmanuel, God with Us, a Mystery beyond understanding, the Union of Heaven and earth. Advent is a slow crawl, not a sprint, toward Christmas. It is an intentional stroll through our anticipation, our desperation, our hope, and our expectation,

From The Gospel of Luke - “The love that descended to Bethlehem is not the easy sympathy of an avuncular God, but a burning fire whose light chases away every shadow, floods every corner, and turns midnight into noon. This love reveals sin and overcomes it. It conquers darkness with such forcefulness and intensity that is scatters the proud, humbles the mighty, feds the hungry, and sends the rich away empty-handed (ch. 1: 51-53).” Are you ready to receive such a Love? 

None of us are, not really. But during Advent, there are activities, symbols, songs, and stories we can engage that will help us slow down, be intentional…..and wait. 

How is Advent done?

Like I said in my first post of this series - "Let's Do This: Engaging Advent," too many of my friends on Facebook, church, and in small group feel lost and unsupported as they engage this incredible opportunity of ritual-making and "adventing." Over the next few weeks I will be sharing daily important advent resources, rituals, scriptures, and encouragement that have helped me and my family. I want to share some of the activities, symbols, songs, and stories that are helping me slow down and do this thing with intention. Hope you join me - subscribe or check back nightly!