Sunday, November 27, 2005

We Wait

Advent is here. The arrival of the Christ is upon us. We wait. And I'm really bad at waiting. If there was one negative description that would best be applied to me it would be "impatient". It's the story of my life. It defines a struggle I have dealt with from my earliest memory. I'm 41.

Yet Advent comes to us again, as it does every year. And, as always, we are reminded that we anticipate more. The first Advent of the Christ got us to this point. It brought us a living Jesus and gave us a life to imitate. The first Advent gave us the cross of Jesus to which we are called. It made resurrection a possibility, which, in turn, gives us hope for the next Advent.

And so, now, again, we wait. We hover in liminal space, always conscious that we are on the brink of something greater. We celebrate the first coming of Jesus. But I admit my inability to grasp the second.

At various points in my life I thought I had that question answered. But I'm coming to realize that it is the waiting, and the mystery, to which I have been called. Where I once thought the second Advent of the Christ could be reduced to a formula, I now find myself living in accord with those who wandered and waited for the first coming. Like the people of God before that amazing night in Bethlehem, I have no choice but to seek to be faithful to the call of God, and to live in expectancy.
"Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation."

1 comment:

billy said...


I agree with you that the waiting is the toughest part. It is the last factor in the traditional easter equation-"Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again..."-that I have always found to be the most difficult. It seems like many early Christians were expecting the imminent return of Christ in their lifetimes (including "luminaries" such as Paul). And ever since that time no single issue has created greater religious fervor and craziness than people's attempts to nail down that date. Perhaps this challenge is part and parcel of trying to balance the transcendent and immanent dimensions of the God that we serve-the God that came to rest as a defenseless child in the manger at Bethelehem? Or maybe we need to transcend these kinds of dichotmous distinctions? altogether? I am not sure that we can ever reconcile or resolve the already but not yet of the coming Kingdom. But the good news, as you remind us, is that we wait together.........