Waiting, in Preparation
Waiting. It's not something people today like to do.
Waiting for the turkey to be done...
Waiting for guests to arrive....
Waiting for the stores to open on Black Friday...
Waiting in traffic, in grocery store lines, for a doctor's appointment. Short, temporary inconveniences.
But sometimes waiting is more difficult.
Waiting for healing, for grief to lessen, for a relationship to be reconciled.
We are a society used to instant access, constant contact, what we want when we want it.
We don't like to be told to wait.
But that is what God is calling us to do this first week of Advent. Wait.
We are preparing for a special event.
When an athlete decides to participate in running a marathon, she does not go out and do it immediately. She spends weeks and months preparing her body for the challenge, training it to respond, conditioning it for a variety of potential scenarios and obstacles so she may compete and finish the race. This time of waiting in an active time of preparation.
Likewise, God calls us to times of waiting to prepare our hearts and minds to experience God's coming to earth in Jesus Christ in new ways. The season of Advent, a season of waiting, is designed to cultivate our awareness of God's actions — past, present, and future. In Advent, we hear the prophecies of the Messiah's coming addressed to us — people who wait for the second coming. In Advent, we heighten our anticipation of the ultimate fulfillment of all Old Testament promises, when the wolf will lie down with the lamb, death will be swallowed up, and every tear will be wiped away.
As I thought about growing up and waiting for things... a new bicycle, a first car, the right person to marry... I realized that the longer I waited for something, the more likely it was that I valued it. Conversely, the things I got without expending much time or effort, I often took for granted. Waiting cultivates an appreciation, an affection... waiting for the return of a loved one from a long trip, or a military deployment. Commitments deepen. Convictions strengthen.
Use this season of waiting as a time of preparation. Seek out who God is calling you to be and what God is calling you to do. Identify areas of your life in need of improvement. Make a specific goal to work on these areas during Advent. Often it helps to have a reminder mechanism — something you will encounter frequently to keep you mindful of your commitment. Mine currently is a red light. It serves to help me remember that things in my life should be ordered around God's timing, not my own. It also encourages me to slow down a bit and not let life speed past me too quickly. Don't let Advent pass you by too quickly.
Let every heart prepare Him room...
Prepare... Wait... Hope...