Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Have you ever seen those videos people make when they have their kids wait? The parents set up a camera and place a bowl of candy between the camera and their children and then they press record. They tell the kids they can have some candy, but they have to wait. The parents leave the room with instructions not to eat the candy until they return, and then the camera continues rolling to see what will happen. The videos are popular because it’s funny when the kids cannot wait. The videos that get shared the most are the ones where the kids give in to the temptation and don’t wait and often with a guilty look, take the candy before the right time. It’s a fun test and a lighthearted look at the reality that waiting is hard. Once again we are in Advent, and Advent once again reminds us that God’s people are waiting people.
Waiting is hard. Like the people of God so often demonstrated by their actions in the Old Testament accounts, we can be tempted to turn in other directions. Like the Israelites with Moses waiting people often begin to grumble and complain. Yet like the Old Testament church had to wait for Christ to come when the time was just right, we too are waiting with them for the coming of Christ and Waiting is hard.
In Advent we are not just waiting to celebrate Christmas, most of us have already enjoyed decorating and singing along to favorite songs, but the even harder wait that we have no choice about is waiting for Christ to come again to judge the living and the dead. That day we wait for will bring the joys of paradise to us who are waiting with the Name of the Lord emblazoned on our lives purchased and won by Him. Waiting for this can be hard.
As we wait, we are not alone in our waiting. God has gathered us into a community in this congregation and we find the strength we need to wait with others. In the videos I mentioned at the start of this, you can often see the benefits of not waiting alone. Children with a sibling sitting beside them seem to have the best -- and often most comical -- chance of waiting successfully. It’s a great reminder to us that because we are not alone, and we can draw strength and encouragement from our fellow believers as we wait for the things that are to come.
Christmas is worth celebrating every day (and NOT just the days between Halloween and Christmas proper) yet the return of Christ is worth waiting for and something we must wait for. In the season of Advent we practice our waiting. We often increase in our devotions. We seek out more opportunities to worship with midweek services. We share the “reason for the season” with others we may not usually do religious talks with. This season leading up to the day we mark with giving is a season when God gives us a chance to slow down as the world speeds up.
Give yourself the gift of waiting with your family of God. Join us for Advent midweek services on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. The wait is worth it and being together in the midst of this waiting is time well spent. Christ will soon return but until then we wait. Lamps filled and burning with the love of Christ for all the world, we wait in Him strong and ready.
Waiting with you IN Christ.