I am not a patient person. Everyone who knows me even a little knows this is true: I do not wait well in lines, in traffic, or behind slow walkers. Nor am I able to accomplish time-consuming tasks that require deliberation, careful attention and meticulous care: I had to have a friend put on my iPad screen cover, and she actually kicked me out of her house when I tried to help. I’m that bad.
As I said, I am not a patient person—at least, in general. However, tonight I find myself mere hours away from the one month in which everything changes. For this one precious month of the year, I am the most patient person on earth, waiting happily, with great delight, day after day after day. That’s right, I’m talking about Advent.
I love the season of Advent—though I must admit, pastor or no pastor, I’m one of the THOSE people: right now, at my house, Christmas shopping has started, the Christmas cards are being addressed, Christmas decorations are out, and Christmas carols are on heavy rotation. However, even though you wouldn’t know it from looking at the lights on my windows, it’s not that I’m eager for Christmas to come. It’s true, along with all my Christian brothers and sisters around the world, I am waiting for Christmas, but the waiting I am doing now is much, much different from all the other waiting I have to endure the other 11 months of the year. The fact is, I love the waiting that characterizes the Advent season: lighting Advent candles every day and doing daily Advent readings, going to concerts, going to chapel, singing Advent carols [I DO love Advent carols], and enjoying the encroaching winter chill. Every day brings its own pleasures and delights: receiving cards from old friends and sending packages to new ones; baking [and eating!] cookies and breads; saying a special Advent prayer every night at dinner; preparing for special holiday visits from friends and family. I’m in no hurry at all for Christmas to get here—as far as I’m concerned Jesus, or better, Mary, can take her own sweet time. In the coming four weeks, I will spend every moment of every day waiting; it’s the most wonderful time of the whole year!
If this blog had a moral [which it doesn’t], I would say that I should apply my practice of Advent waiting to the rest of my life: I should pay more attention to the people around me while I am standing in line at the post office, I should relax and enjoy the scenery when I am trapped in traffic, blah, blah, blah. This would all be good and helpful, except, realistically, I know I’m not going to do that—as I said, I am a really, really impatient person, and at this point, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
So, instead, I am going to enjoy this special month of waiting just as it is, and be so grateful for the chance to be the world’s best wait-er. Indeed, Christ is coming, but in truth, Christ is already here, dwelling among us. We have all the time in the world.