Waiting Well: Advent Wk 2: What Are you Waiting For?
Waiting has become more difficult in our world because we have so many things available to us on demand like software on your computer –you can subscribe to something like microsoft 365 and get the latest updates right away. You can even get the updates that don’t quite work yet. How is that for not waiting? I have to admit, I give into that sometimes and regret it because all of a sudden my computer is frozen or something, and I’m locked out! Agh! We are talking about waiting well this Advent. That is the antithesis of waiting well.
We use software in our control room to run all of our screens and live stream. Tony does a great job with all that. Not too long ago though, he went for the latest update because he was enticed by the software company to get the latest and the greatest ASAP although he usually never does that. The next thing we know Tony is pulling his hair out, the slides don’t work, the livestream is dead, and Joey, our music director, does a head slap so hard he practically falls off the piano bench!
The software companies even tell you: “Hey, this might not work, but here you go. And how many of us cheer that and say yes! Just give it to me so I have the latest and the greatest, even if it does not work quite right. Does that really make sense though?
We can get movies, music, all sorts of things on demand. You can cook your dinner in a microwave in three and a half minutes. Wow. Boy I hate to wait. How about you?
Sometimes when I have been praying for something or hoping something happens and it does not happen, God is telling me to wait. But there have been times when I did not listen and charged ahead and tried to make that thing happen anyway. That typically does not turn out well for me. I did not let God’s will be done, I tried to force my own will into the situation. Can you think of a time where maybe God was telling you to wait, but you did not listen, and it did not turn out well?
When God tells us to wait, he wants to do something beautiful for us. When God tells us to wait he wants us to actively receive his grace during our waiting. By actively receiving his grace, we mean to open ourselves up to God’s unmerited favor. That is what we mean by grace, God’s unmerited favor. When God is telling us to wait he wants to work on us in some beautiful, profound way that we don’t even know about.
This is especially true during Advent. In waiting for Christmas, we want to actively receive God’s grace by opening our hearts and souls to his unmerited favor. It is an unmerited favor because we don’t deserve it, and we cannot earn that favor. God just wants to give it to us, but we have to wait.
So you might wonder to yourself. If I have to wait, for what am I waiting? That is a great question. So I ask you, when it comes to Advent, for what are you waiting? And please don’t just tell me you are waiting for Christmas. That is way too general, not specific enough.
If we are going to wait well, we have to know what we are waiting for. What are you hoping to happen? Theologically we have fancy phrases like I have expectant longing. Ok Fine. But for what are you longing, specifically. If you can not name that for which you are waiting, then we don’t know what we are supposed to be doing now to prepare while we wait, so that we can wait well.
If you don’t know what you are longing for from God. You are stuck. You say, I am waiting for Christmas, I am waiting for the birth of Jesus. News flash, that happened over 2000 years ago. You don’t have to wait for that. Advent is not about pretending that we live before Jesus.
We are not waiting for Jesus to come into the world, what you want to be waiting for is longing for Jesus to come into certain areas of your life, and your world, and your heart. That’s what we’re waiting for. So the question I ask you is where do you want Jesus to enter into your life? That’s what this Advent can be all about: where are you hoping for him to come into your life?
In the Gospel we are hearing all about John the Baptist telling the people to get ready. And he baptizes them in preparation for Jesus coming into their lives, but they first must name their sins. That’s like when you go to confession, we name what needs to change in our lives. Those are the things we are waiting for. What are you waiting for, this Advent?
What are you hoping is different for you this Christmas that is right and true in your life right now, that can be different?
Be specific for this Christmas. What kind of person do you want to be?
- I want to be the kind of person who says thank you and means it when I don’t initially feel grateful.
- I want to have a better relationship with my spouse or children, or boyfriend or girlfriend.
- I want to be a better brother or sister or friend.
- I want to be the kind of person who says you are welcome when it makes me feel uncomfortable.
- I want to be the positive person in the room when others are being negative.
- I want to be the kind of person who encourages others on a regular basis.
- I want to be the kind of person, that even when I am stressed getting ready for Christmas, I am considerate and thinking of others.
- I want to be the kind of person who can sometimes say no when I need to say no to the plethora of invitations I receive over the Holidays, so that I can have the best Christmas yet with God and my family and be the stress free kind of person God wants me to be.
What kind of person do you want to be? For what are you waiting?
- Maybe there is a specific sin you want to grow beyond, a sin that is holding you back? Name it and invite Jesus there, go to confession, and with his help, work on getting beyond it.
Don’t just sit around waiting in some sort of passive way for Christmas.
Take some time today to consider the following, and write down a specific response. I’ll ask you about that next week.
What kind of person do you want to be?
Where and how do you want to invite Jesus into your life, your world, your heart, where you have not yet invited him, so that, with his help, you may change more into the kind of person you want to be and that God wants you to be.