By: Maddy Boyle
Readings: Psalm 80:1-7, Isaiah 42:10-18, Hebrews 10:32-39
Waiting can be an extremely difficult task. Some people are so antsy or anxious that they try to shorten the waiting period, while others lose sight of the end because of its longevity or staticity. Nonetheless, the waiting period is just as important as the event itself, and without the waiting period then the event would not be as highly anticipated.
In the Isaiah reading, one is presented with a wide array of actions performed by nature and by people during their waiting. In addition, it is iterated in this Hymn of Praise that one should be active in the period of waiting and proudly express their faith. By having faith and participating in activities that make one feel connected to God, one is making the most out of the waiting period, and setting aside time to fully delve into the spirit of Advent. I personally feel a strong connection to God in nature, particularly the hikes I take with my dogs, and so I interpret the Hymn of Praise as a call to recognize and perform the activities in which I feel God’s presence most: “these are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
The reading from Hebrews focuses on the necessity of having endurance and keeping a positive mindset in the period of waiting. Having endurance during Advent is quite similar to a runner having endurance for a marathon. For an extraordinarily long period of time this runner has been training, both mentally and physically, for this race. To make it to the finish line, the runner endures the pain in their feet, the sweat in their eyes, and the embarrassment that their hair has probably seen better days. Despite these obstacles, the runner passes through the finish line and feels the dopamine and endorphins rushing through their brain. Would the runner have felt so proud and accomplished if they had not put in such a great deal of time and effort? The Hebrews reading reinforces the idea that it is the endurance, the nitty gritty work, one puts in during the waiting period that makes Christmas so special and highly anticipated. And in actively making this time and space for Advent, do not forget that “in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; but my righteous one will live by faith” (Hebrews 10:37-38).
Dear God, help us to not only make time for Advent but to fill that time with necessary things and thoughts to prepare ourselves for baby Jesus’ coming. Guide us in this time of endurance by reminding us to slow down and revel in this amazing, reflective period known as Advent. Amen.