What are you waiting for?
I’ll ask it again, but this time, really think about it…what are you waiting for?
This is the exact same question the priest asked this weekend as I sat at Mass. The first time he asked it I started coming up with the (never-ending) list of things I’m waiting for: upcoming events, i.e. graduations, Christmas parties of all kinds of varieties, Christmas itself, the new year, weddings, job security, you name it, I’m probably waiting for it. Then the priest asked us again, “what are you waiting for?” So…I just kept thinking of more things I want to happen, more that I would love to someday acquire and the list kept going.
Then he asked again, “what are you waiting for?” You might think at this point that this was going to be a boring homily since the priest just kept asking the same question over and over again. But goodness knows my brain can be quite the dense place to be, but it finally hit me. And for that matter, I’d guess I’m not the only one with a dense brain…so if you are in the Dense Brain camp, I’ll let you in on what I realized/the priest finally explained: Welcome to Advent, folks – it is a season of waiting.
I hate waiting. Patience is a virtue that I don’t possess…even though God is constantly trying to teach it to me. Patience and I aren’t friends or even acquaintances and I’ve never been shy about that. I’ve even written a few blogs about my complete lack of patience, and not just in certain matters (i.e. Mr. Wonderful to show up, my dream job to fall in my lap, etc.). I love Advent, but I hate waiting in general. I don’t like waiting in line for confession, I don’t like sitting in traffic, I don’t like waiting in lines in stores when I go shopping, I don’t like waiting for my paycheck to hit the bank…I just don’t like it, which is why it was so easy to come up with the list of things I’m waiting for.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the wanting of things or events isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it comes from a deeper hunger: we want to be happy. We want to be joyful people, so we want things or events to occur in the hopes that we will be happier, more joyful people because of them. But how do we become truly happy, joyful people? We find God. We are, ultimately, looking for, waiting for God…we are waiting for Heaven. The other stuff, the material items, the events are just ‘things’ along the way to what we are all, deep down, waiting for: eternal bliss.
Welcome to Advent, folks – it is a season of waiting. It is a season of joyful anticipation of the coming of Christ, not so much at Christmas as a baby, not so much for midnight Mass (or the nightmarish parking lot after Mass), not even for the beautiful Christmas presents. It is a joyful anticipation of the second coming of Christ, whether He comes in our life time or whether we pass away and meet Him at those pearly gates. This Advent, let us be joyful in our waiting, joyful in our anticipation and hoping for the coming of Christ. May we also recognize that Christ doesn’t just come at Christmas or at the second coming…He comes every day. May our eyes be open to see Him.
“Light that never fades, dispel the mists about us, awaken our faith from sleep” – Liturgy of the Hours, Morning Prayer, Monday, Week One of Advent