Today I got to try out a new bakery owned by one of my favorite restaurants. I was eagerly awaiting their opening and had been searching for an excuse to visit. The experience did not disappoint and I’m already planning a second visit back, this time with my local bakery expert, Mom. I was posting a picture from my trip to the bakery on Instagram and mentioned how long I had been waiting. I paused for a moment and remembered that the store had been open less than 2 weeks. Sure, I’d known the store was in the works for a few months, but this is a relatively short amount of time to wait.
Waiting is an odd experience. Scratch that. Waiting is a painful, frustrating experience. I am stuck in a season of waiting. And the further along I go, the more impatient and annoyed I get. Waiting reveals my insecurities and vices. It also makes time stretch on so that even the shortest amount of time can feel like an eternity.
I cannot imagine waiting hundreds of years for anything.
Yet, the nation of Israel waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to be born. And today, we as the church are waiting for his return. We’re currently at year two thousand, give or take a few decades. This week the church enters into the season of Advent. The words itself is defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event”. In this case, the word refers to the arrival of a person: Jesus.
Advent has come back into fashion recently. Each year, I see more and more Advent church services, apps, books, etc. I both love and hate that. I hate that it’s become the trendy trend in churches which will soon be replaced by the next big word or idea. However, I love that it invites the church to stop, be still, and wait. I love that it explores the nuances of Christ coming: his birth long awaited for, and his return, desperately hoped for.
Advent asks us to sit with the tension of that which has come and that for which we wait. Expectation and hope marry together beautifully, as our hearts churn clumsily.
Our waiting, both individually and corporately, may not be graceful, but our waiting is beautiful in its own awkward way. Because in our waiting we acknowledge our need and look to God.
Psalm 13:1-2 (ESV)
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
-What in your life is bringing you to ask “How long oh Lord?”
-For what things are you waiting for?
-Take a moment to ask the Lord “how long?”
-Now listen. How is Jesus responding?