Advent: We’re Too Impatient – Learn to Wait!

Post a Comment » Written on December 15th, 2005     
Filed under: News
BOWIE, MD (December 15, 2005)  – Editor’s note: In preparation for the  Christmas observance, Covenant Communications is sharing devotionals  that originally appeared in local Covenant church newsletters and are  being published here by permission. The following comes from Cheryl  Nilson of Church of the Redeemer in Bowie.

By Cheryl Nilson
This year’s news reports on Black Friday made me think that Advent might  be a little like people waiting outside in the cold and dark for a store  to open – though nothing like a crowd stampeding in to grab the first  bargains. Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, not a time of  instant gratification, a time of gradually building hope rather than a  time to pull out all the stops (that would be Christmas – or maybe even  Easter).
The traditional church calendar places the beginning of the Christmas  season on Christmas day, unlike the world of commerce, which places it  somewhere before Halloween. Without getting too legalistic, there is  much to be gained from a season of expectation, especially when those  expectations are placed on something reliable, like the presence of God  with us, Emmanuel.
The world is absolutely right that Christmas is a time of great joy; a  time to celebrate with generosity, that joy is not the satisfaction of  all our earthly desires. Even good and noble desires – like the longing  for a whole and healthy family, for dependable and loving companionship,  for peace and contentment – will not be perfectly fulfilled this  Christmas, no matter how good we’ve been all year!
The holiday season may even make our longing and losses feel more acute.  Marking this time as Advent and not yet Christmas reminds us that we are  still in a time of waiting for God’s glorious fulfillment.
We light candles of hope in our homes and in our hearts because we know  that what we hope for is on the way and until then, God gives us enough  light and warmth for the waiting. No earthly life is so perfect that  there is no room for God to speak to us through grief and unmet  longings. Neither is any life so completely bereft of grace that God  will not give us enough hope to sustain us (though some of us go through  dark nights when we struggle to believe this is true).
Whether found in the dazzle of glittering Christmas trees or in the  flame of a single beautiful taper in the darkness, light and life are  God’s gifts to each of his children this season. These gifts also are  offered to those who have yet to accept them. May his gifts warm your  heart as you wait.
(Editor’s note: to read earlier Advent messages, please see:
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