I like to think I know what it is to wait.
The fifteen-month process for the adoption of my first son nearly broke me; thinking of him, motherless, in that little Ugandan orphanage while my own arms hung empty on the other side of the world was almost more than I could bear. I sunk into depression for a good portion of that wait, and since then, I’ve waited for other things with equal desperation. Healing for loved ones. A sense of mission for my own life. A day when I can pursue career goals rather than shelve them in favor of diapers and breastfeeding.
I bet you’ve had waits of your own. We seem to always be waiting for something, don’t we?
But are we able to even begin to fathom the long wait of the Jewish people for their Messiah? For thousands of years, with no real proof He would come at all, they waited. Generations were born and generations were buried, and they waited still, expectant. Their communal faith brings me to my knees at my own lack of spiritual stamina. The hope it must have taken for them to hold onto the promises of God is mind-blowing as we look at today’s original prophecy in Isaiah and its eventual fulfillment in the Gospel. (Isaiah 40:1-11) (Mark 1:1-8)
It’s hard to truly imagine the Jewish people’s thirst for a Savior when I’ve taken the gift for granted most days of my life. But every year when Advent rolls around we’re reminded anew, aren’t we? For four weeks out of the year we consider the darkness that hung thick before the Light entered the world. And what’s more, we remember our own wait for the Restoration of all things. We might not hold it before us with the same anticipation that the ancient Jews did the Messiah’s coming, but we too live in waiting.
In this Advent season let us remember that what we’re really waiting on is both the birth of our Messiah on Christmas Day, and also the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth. May we take the small personal waits that pain us and offer them up to the Light of the World, as a sign of trust that He is making all things new. We wait for peace and justice on Earth; we wait for His restoration. We, too, wait for the Light.
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Do you feel compelled to give back and be involved in peace-making this Advent? Pray for discernment on this nudge.
Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. She is a writer, speaker, and podcaster. She and her husband and four children are passionately pursing a life of authenticity and justice. You can find out more about her here.