Friday, December 14, 2007

God in the Waiting

One of the lectionary readings for this week is from James 5. Read verses 7 and 8:

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.
Be patient. Wait.

We are told that advent is a time of waiting. A time of preparation. Are we very patient with that purpose? I think that I most often think of Advent as those four weeks before Christmas, and the preparation that I am doing is to prepare for Christmas. I rationalize that through all of this hustle and bustle -- that through all of this busyness -- that I am preparing for the coming of Christ. At Christmas. I have a date and a deadline. He will come on December 25. He had better not sneak onto the scene at midnight on December 24, because I won't be ready.

The Disciplines devotional this morning stopped me. It is based on the James lectionary passage sited above. The author said that in the waiting we find God. In the waiting? No, not in the waiting - we find God at the end, I argued with myself.

We find God in the waiting. We grow during the waiting. We learn trust and obedience in the waiting. I realized that the devotional writer was correct. We find God during Advent -- during the waiting. Sometimes I think of advent as the quiet time before Christmas -- empty of God. A time when I am preparing to meet him at Christmas, in a manger. Really, though, the hope of advent is that God comes now. He comes in the waiting. We find him not in a manger, but in the growth and trust and obedience that we learn in advent. We find him in the quiet of candle lighting and in the shame of repentance. We find him in the healing of forgiveness and in the impatience of our patience. We find him during Advent.

And then we have a party. Then we celebrate at Christmas. Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Alleluia. Amen!

Clip art from Hermanolean.

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