Taking Time to Wait
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always a blur. Between food, friends, shopping, traveling and – oh right – work, I have to confess that the whole Advent thing about “waiting” and “anticipating” seems a bit of a departure from reality. I guess I wait for trains and in lines, and I anticipate the next 500 things I have to do and the dread of not getting everything done by December 25, but none of that is very spiritual.
Though maybe that departure from “reality” is the point that I’m missing. Seasons like Advent, and soon Lent, are meant to lift us out of the track of daily life for a while. Maybe it’s not that I’m supposed to recognize the waiting and anticipating in my life as it is, but rather to strive and actively anticipate the arrival of Christ With Us. The promise of the joy of salvation is certainly something to look forward to, isn’t it?
It’s amazing to think of Advent happening all around the world, in so many different kinds of communities, and I wonder what other kinds of salvation people are envisioning for themselves and their families. Maybe it’s the freedom from waterborne disease that installing a well will bring, or the freedom from malaria that a mosquito net can give. Maybe it’s the economic freedom that comes from building a small business through a micro-finance loan and seeing it grow. Maybe it’s the freedom from hunger and uncertainty that drought-resistant seeds and rainwater catchment systems can provide.
Anticipation for salvation – in the eternal or the immediate sense – can move us to act, to help bring forth the Kingdom of God. Being mindful of how we can do that in our daily lives, and making an effort to reach out and serve Christ in others, is an Advent practice that makes it more than just a season of waiting. I feel like I still need to put my head down and keep blasting through to Christmas, but hopefully I’ll also remember to keep things in perspective and think about a bigger goal in this season of preparation: being ready to see and follow Jesus.
Faith Rowold is the Communications Officer at Episcopal Relief & Development.
Photo credits: Jose M. Vaquez Flckr Photostream