We are already a week into Advent, and besides a few lights and my constantly-streaming Advent playlist, this new season feels like the others. Advent is a season of waiting, much like the rest of our lives.
But Advent gives us a heightened sense of waiting. We are waiting for God to come to earth, to make His dwelling among us, to redeem the world from evil and darkness. The news from New York City and from Ferguson, Missouri increase our waiting. Stories of poverty, sickness, and death remind us that we are pilgrims, waiting for our heavenly home. We see the darkness in our own lives, and wait for Christ’s light to shine upon us, to redeem and remake and renew our own hearts.
Waiting in this life sometimes is simply that: waiting. Waiting isn’t always promised to end in the results we want. But such is not our Advent waiting.
We don’t simply wait. We wait with hope and expectation because we know that Christ will come. On Christmas morning, the baby Jesus is placed into the manger. The whole world rejoices, and divine life comes to earth. The Advent candles speak of waiting, and of hope, but they also speak peace because we know the promises have been fulfilled. What we wait for has come.
Advent is about more than waiting for Christ’s birth. It is about waiting for His second coming, for the day when the work He began will finally come to completion. I often think of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4: “We do not grieve as those without hope.” In the same way, we do not wait as those without certainty. For we know that Christ will return.
Advent reminds us: our waiting will one day end. All will be made new. There will be no more mourning or death, and this Christ who came first as a humble baby in a manger will return again as a triumphant King to bring us to the life for which we were made.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.