the waiting time

It really wasn’t that long ago,
that I was looking at our Advent calendar
thinking, look at all the days before Christmas!
And decorations were just starting to pop up.
I mean they had been up in the stores for a while,
but there was only one banner hanging up
here in the sanctuary and one banner hanging outside.
Some houses in the neighborhood had lights,
but many still didn’t.
The Christmas tree lot across the street
was just getting underway.
And I thought to myself,
I’m glad to have this waiting time—
this waiting time before Christmas.
Because I have all this time to do all the things
I want to do before Christmas.

And now Christmas is on Wednesday!
Did I do all those things?
Some of them.
Not as many as I wish I had.

Oh, I’m not worried about presents—
the supposedly diminishing number of shopping days—
like they ever diminish!
But I do wish there had been more quiet evenings
with family or friends—
a shared meal or pot luck dessert,
enjoying the lights and the music,
or some Christmas outings—
figuring out ways to creatively gift each other in
celebration of love and community.

We did some of that.
And honestly, I wonder if you can ever do enough!
Part of the gift of love and community
is that to know it is to always want more, right?

We live in a waiting time.
As the people of God, we live in a waiting time.
But we’re called to be glad we have this waiting time—
all this time to do what we want to do—
what we choose to do—
to live the way we want to live—
celebrating love and community.
Not that we’ll ever be satisfied—if we do it right.
(If we do it right, we’ll never be satisfied.
How’s that for counter-cultural?)
If we do it right, we will always want to experience more.
But maybe we can figure out
(and help each other figure out)
how not to be bored in the waiting—
not to be frustrated—
not to wish it away,
and to take the time to decide
what’s most important
and to do that,
and do that some more,
and let some of the less important go
in and through the waiting.

See my suspicion—
and my hope—
and my fear
is that we help create
what we’re waiting for
in the waiting time.

So may it be love,
and may it be so.

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