This morning I got up before the rest of my family and went downstairs for a little peace and quiet (something that can be hard to come by in house with two young kids). I made my coffee and a bowl of cereal, grabbed a book and went to sit down and the kitchen table and [sigh] there it was, in the way. Before I could could sit down and enjoy the sound of nothing but my Golden Grahams crunching and the words from the pages of my book I had to clear our Advent wreath out of the way. I know that any minute there will be a kid’s voice calling over the monitor or one coming downstairs and I don’t want to waste what little time I have moving things out of the way. Ok, sure. In reality it only delayed my sitting down for about 30 seconds, but in my mind I couldn’t sigh long or loud enough. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW and this wreath was in the way.
It’s hard to wait. We live in a fast food, microwave world. The biggest selling point in new computers and cell phones… speed. Christmas songs start playing at Walmart before Halloween. We don’t like to wait. But Advent is a time of waiting. As author/activist Shane Claiborne says, “We wait in expectation of the full coming of God’s reign on earth and for the return of Christ. But this waiting is not a passive waiting. It is an active waiting. As any expectant mother knows, this waiting also involves preparation, exercise, nutrition, care, prayer, work; and birth involves pain, blood, tears, joy, release, community. It is called labor for a reason.” Advent might seem just like something to endure… something, “in the way” of Christmas, but maybe this kind of active waiting is what John was proclaiming in the wilderness. Jesus, help us not consider Advent just one more thing that is in the way of what we really want. Let this be a time for us to be active in our waiting and prepare the way for your coming.