You may remember the Carly Simon song, and then the ketchup commercial: “An-ti-ci-pa-tion…is making me late, keeping me waiting…” It was a great song for the commercial, since most of us have had that slow-moving ketchup experience (and then got tired of waiting and stuck our knife up into the bottle to get it started). We don’t wait very well, but anticipation comes with rewards built in. This is the anticipation time of year: waiting for sales, waiting for vacation time, waiting for gifts, waiting for Santa, waiting for family celebrations.
In the church, we call it Advent, and it marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical calendar. Advent is defined as “coming into place, view, or being; arrival.” And indeed, in this season we celebrate all of those definitions: God’s coming to an identifiable place, being viewed by humankind in a new way, signaling a different way of being. Arrival: God with us.
So, what are we still waiting for? It is useful to note that in the scripture “waiting” is not a passive activity. Waiting on the Lord includes anticipation, reflection, meaningful action, and persistent attention. It requires readiness. It is hopeful, winsome, and full of joy.
It’s especially necessary this year. On November 10th, church leaders in Europe and Jerusalem announced that there would be no Christmas feasts and festivals in the Holy Land. They called on churches to focus on the spiritual meaning of the season, to pray, and to support those who are suffering. The road between Jerusalem (in Israel) and Bethlehem (in the Palestinian West Bank) has been cut off by Israeli forces.
The Christian story is a particular story, one whose roots are in particular places on earth, at particular times in human history, told through particular people; and because of this we find that through this story God still speaks to us in our own particular situations. We know that even in this particular time of anxiety and fear, we are called to await actively, and anticipate expectantly, the arrival of the Prince of Peace.
For the God who came to us then is the same God who dwells with us now, and, at the same time, the God who is yet to come. In this blessed season, may we not simply bide our time, but may we wait—in the broadest, most holy sense—for the Advent of the Christ Child in our hearts and in our world.
Sundays at 9:00am
(see our Small Groups page for more details)
Sundays at 10:00 am
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Monday - Wednesday
8:30 am - 3:30 pm