Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
December 3, 2006
Waiting - A Not So Popular Experience!As Americans living in the 21st Century, waiting is probably one of the most undesirable experiences we face. We are so accustomed to short cuts and owning gadgets that will enable us to do the job quickly that we have become addicted to “going fast.” This is not compatible to the art of waiting.
How many of us become exasperated when we get “stuck” in the wrong line at the bank where the person ahead of us should probably have made an appointment with their personal teller, or the times when we are caught in the grocery line and it just doesn’t seem to be moving. We find some comfort in sharing our exasperation with another customer but we also vow never to come back at this time of the day. Then there are the traffic jams, the lines at the Post Office and the famous lines at the City Hall when we wait until the last day to go register our vehicles.
Waiting is a very unpopular verb in our vocabulary and we would, no doubt, be very happy if we could eliminate the experience. Why then does the Church begin its liturgical calendar with the season of Advent which is, in essence, a period of waiting? Is this simply a remnant of the past? Could we skip the season and simply jump right into the Christmas season?
For many Christians, Advent has become a period of getting ready for Christmas. Advent has always been a period of getting ready but somehow the meaning of readiness has changed from one of waiting to one of actual preparation. We see December as a time to do our shopping, bring out the decorations, plan our Christmas parties, etc. There is no waiting involved, we just go, go, go. We become so dizzy and fatigued that we often wish there were no Christmas at all. How often do we hear people say, “I’m so eager for the holidays to be over.” Sadly, for too many, Christmas is a time to experience anxiety, frustration and burn out.
Why then, does the Church give us this season? And what exactly are we waiting for? We all know that Christ will not be reborn. He was born once, he grew up, he lived his life of ministry, he died and rose again. Now he sits at the Father’s right hand and lives happily ever after. Why are we waiting? Let’s take at least a moment to reflect on this point.
The waiting that is encouraged during Advent is one that often takes more times than we are willing to give. What we are actually waiting for is the “rebirth” or “coming to life” of Jesus within us. This is a time for us to be quiet (if we can), and to listen to God’s word as if it were really meant for us. We need to be reawakened to God’s presence within us. That same Jesus that was once born in a stable in Bethlehem wants to be “born” in our lives. He wants to be a living entity in our lives.
Waiting for God to make His presence known within us is perhaps an uncomfortable feeling for us. We don’t know what He wants of us or what it will demand of us. We are afraid that our lives will have to change and that leaves us with an anxious feeling. Worst of all we need to wait for God’s time for this to happen. And how we hate to wait! This Advent, let’s pray that we can become more open to God’s coming, once again, in our lives
Lorette P. Nault