Beginning and Ending in Waiting

sunset-pixabay-SarahRicherArtAs we follow the church calendar, we end 28 weeks of Ordinary Time as we end one year and then begin the 4-week Advent season, which starts another year. One season of waiting followed by another. In the church calendar we spend a full 32 of 52 weeks … waiting. This makes sense. From the time the first image-bearers were created, there would be thousands (if not thousands of thousands) of years waiting for the first coming of the Messiah. The first coming lasted only a few years, and now it has been two thousand years of waiting so far for the Messiah’s return. And here we are waiting again.

It’s hard to blame the world for wanting to focus on the celebration. There was the long time of waiting. And now, in America, we start getting ready for the celebration with longer and longer Christmas shopping seasons. Unfortunately, in all the gift-buying it’s easy to lose sight of the best gift which came free – for us anyway. It’s truly a gift that we can’t repay. It’s the gift from the one who from the riches of love in his own heart paid the price for our gift. It’s a gift from the one who desires to be our Father – and brother – and friend. Even though we can accept the gift right now, the complete gift requires waiting for the final fulfilment. We can have the deposit now, but we have to wait until we finally consummate the gift.

Waiting is hard. From the beginning we had trouble waiting. We wanted access to all the wisdom and knowledge without waiting. We just grabbed for it. We’ve been paying the price ever since, but we never learned the lesson and keep on trying to grab things when we want. We can’t wait. The stores can’t wait for profits and we can’t wait to buy things and some day we will probably start wondering when the Christmas gift-buying season will be 52 weeks.

We desperately need the Advent season to keep us from focusing on all the other gifts and forgetting the most important gift and, more importantly, the One who gives it. Even with our little gifts, the most important part is the relationship of the ones giving and receiving. Stuff can’t replace our need for each other and our need for a relationship with the best gift-giver of all. The stuff is just the icing on the cake.

Relationships never blossom in an instant. Relationships take time as we get to know each other and do things with each other. While we wait for the biggest gift, the biggest gift-giver of them all is giving us the time, right now, to start getting to know him and do things with him. We don’t have to wait to receive the relationship or wait to start building it. We can do that right now – while we are waiting.

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