The Rev. David Meyers
Holy Spirit Episcopal Church
1200 Post Dr., Belmont, MI 49306
I was in the doctor’s office the other day and the appointments were backed up. The wait was much longer than usual. After perusing the scattered magazines, I made a mental shift. Instead of succumbing to growing irritation, I decided to make the most of the time of waiting. Mentally, I made a list of the jobs I had to do. Then I checked off the things that needed to be done to get my house in order. I did some financial accounting and then I checked my prayer list. I remembered all the friends, family members, social issues, and church concerns I had committed to pray for. It seemed as if the time passed at a rapid pace and then my number was called. The wait was over.
Dear friends, we are now in the first week of Advent—the season of emergence, of coming forth, of appearing. We have four weeks to wait for Christmas. In our church, we stubbornly oppose the cultural norm of rushing Christmas. The deep blue colors and reflective mood are anticipatory, but restrained. There will be no decorations until just before the 25th. The words of Isaiah, Jesus, and John the Baptist help flesh out the time. They guide us through the wait.
Time with God can be bent in so many ways. Even as we await the celebration of the coming of Messiah in the form of a child, we anticipate the coming of Christ in great power and glory. Both happen at the same time. Both are comprehensive, both are cosmic. The nature of the wait depends on the understanding of the event.
As people grow older, they begin to understand that the appearing of Christ may be individual instead of a worldwide event. The wait is a useful time to get the house in order, to make sure that jobs are finished, and accounts balance. The act of simplifying helps the wait go smoothly.
Of course, as children, we did not understand the deeper meaning of the season. Waiting was so hard! Little people, literally abuzz with excited energy, know that a great celebration is approaching. They can barely eat while they tick off the days. For them, the wait is torture.
For younger adults, the wait is more trying. Demands of time and purse result in the feeling that the wait is actually too short! How can it all be accomplished? Or rather, why must is all be accomplished? So much is pressing that the wait does not lead to peaceful understanding. It is time that demands to be filled.
Wherever you find yourself, remember that the wait has a purpose. It teaches us that we are not in charge of time. The Messiah comes when he chooses. No amount of stress can make the days go faster. Preparation, however, can make the days more meaningful. Take some time in these next weeks to be quiet. Sit back and close your eyes. In the midst of the immediate hubbub, take a personal inventory. Is your spiritual house in order? Are accounts balanced? Are the necessary jobs completed? Are you ready to welcome the Christ Child, the Messiah as your guest?