Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting, anticipation



Most of us don't particularly enjoy time spent in a waiting room, or the anxious anticipation of news that concerns our lives, such as a job offer, acceptance into a school or study program, results of a test.

Here we are in Advent, waiting on God. The good news is just that--Good News, the gospel message that God has come into our lives and our world, forever altering the course of history.

So what, then, do we wait for? What are you waiting for? Or, what is being born in your life or your heart at this time?

In Advent language, we wait for three things:  the coming of God into our world in the Incarnation (which already happened, and which we celebrate at Christmas), the coming of Jesus into our lives in the here and now, and the coming of Christ at the end of time to usher in a new age.  That new age is described in today's reading from Isaiah 25:6-10a:

On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken.

On that day it will be said:

"Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!"
For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.

We wait for a lovely world, where all have their fill (and the food and wine will be delicious!), none will be at odds with one another, and all will be joy-filled, for they have been saved by God.

What are we waiting for now?  Most of us don't think this is coming right away, and yet we wait.  Part of our waiting involves making this world fulfill some of the desires of God--helping one another get what we need to live humanly, treating one another with respect, and working for peace in our own little worlds and in the world as a whole.  Sometimes the world we live in seems so far removed from that Kingdom of God, and yet we must continue to hope and to strive for God's desires.

Right now, we can prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus into our hearts and lives. We can examine how we live, and make improvements, even if we are already basically good people.  We can ask ourselves, how can I grow in these weeks before Christmas?  How can I become more like the image of God that is implanted in me?

Maybe that means spending a few more minutes with Jesus each day in prayer, pondering the birth of Jesus in my heart.

Maybe it means being kind to someone who annoys me.  

Maybe it means dwelling on the Gospels as they tell us of the good news of Jesus Christ--the one who heals us, who feeds us, and who calls us out to be our best selves.  In that, may we find hope and encouragement for our Christian journey.

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