If there really was a Santa Clause, I am absolutely convinced that I would have gotten no presents on Christmas as a kid. Not because I was a bad kid all year, but because at Christmas time I was terrible at waiting. From my perspective as a kid, the presents under the tree needed to be opened and there was no sense in waiting until Christmas to do so. So, I mastered the skill of carefully unwrapping presents and re-wrapping them without being detected. Every Christmas until I graduated from high school I found out what every present was before Christmas morning. I wasn’t good at waiting. I’ve since grown to be more patient (but I’m still learning) and have actually come to value the time of preparation and anticipation that comes before Christmas, because God does something transformative in me (and in all of us) as we wait. As we wait we are enriched and strengthened by Christ.
The readings for this Sunday, reveal some of the struggle God’s people face in waiting. Isaiah wants God to rip open the heavens and come. The psalmist begs God to come. In the gospel text, Jesus describes the coming of the Son of Man with stars falling from heaven which, when you think about it, doesn’t sound like anything we would ever hope for. But while we wait, Paul assures us in 1 Corinthians 1 that in this waiting, Jesus, “will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It never stops being good news that Jesus is with us. As we wait patiently for him to come may we find strength in, and be transformed by the ongoing presence of Jesus in our lives.