“I hate when they make you wait in the room. Because it says ‘Waiting Room.’ There’s no chance of not waiting. They call it the waiting room; they’re going to use it.” – Seinfeld
Seinfeld captures that slow dread—waiting. But then there’s those times when you wait for something good and get spring-loaded with hope. Your joy is extended, not lessened, by anticipation.
The word “advent” means arrival, which implies a season of waiting. In a sense, all of our lives are waiting. Waiting to grow up. Waiting to leave home. Waiting to finish school. Waiting to get married. Waiting to have children. Waiting for those children to grow up and fly the nest. Waiting for your first job. Waiting for your career. Waiting for your dream job. No, waiting for your real dream job, or your real family sweet spot. Waiting to be successful. Waiting to feel loved or recognized. Waiting for grandkids. Waiting until you retire. Waiting to feel better again. Waiting till your time is up. Then our years, weeks, and days are made up of smaller cycles of waiting. Waiting for the next holiday, the next vacation, the next project, the next weekend, the next meal.
There is a decaying, deadening shallowness that seeps in during all this waiting. There is always something else coming. From year to year and hour to hour there is some new horizon promising that when you get to the top of that hill, then you’ll be happy.
This way of waiting does wonders in keeping you in a state of perpetual discontent. Your whole life, you postpone joy until the arrival of the next thing, until of course, there is no next thing. For the Christian, however, this season of advent gives us a glimmer of the way in which God redeems our waiting.
There is an absolute guarantee of perfection coming. God is going to make you and this world better than you can imagine. The definitiveness of this promise should give us security. It’s not fragile, ready to gust away in a single phone call. Waiting on God’s final arrival and deliverance will never be fraught with the fear of a dashed dream. Nor is a Christian’s hope merely waiting for another life. Like with the arrival of Christ, we can enjoy light and healing now, as well as anticipate a glorious future. The state of waiting isn’t bad, it’s unavoidable. The question is: What are you waiting for?
A Christian enjoys the advantage of his waiting being purposeful and personal. You are waiting to be made fully new and wholly perfect, along with this broken world. Everything God does in your life, including your mistakes and bad decisions, is moving you toward that. And your waiting is personal. You never wait alone, abandoned, and unworthy of companionship. Jesus was abandoned on the cross so that we could wait in hope and always with God’s personal friendship.
This article was originally published in the local Star Courier Newspaper