Isaiah 40:31 “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Advent is waiting. One of its key themes is the importance for us to see the possibilities that waiting might bring to us.
When I think of waiting my own mind most immediately goes to the hospital as a place of waiting. Patients waiting at the start of the day for a bath, waiting for the doctor to come, for the bed to be made. They wait for the results of tests, for surgery, for the day of discharge or perhaps, they even wait for their death.
Experiences of waiting can lead to what might call enlarged perceptions. Waiting might just help us to see things differently. In waiting, such intuitions of enduring, because they are intimate, are vexingly uncomfortable. We fidget, we pace, we complain, we consult our watches.
Although the experience of waiting is a common human experience – we live in a world where we want or create a culture within which waiting is undesirable. We live in a world where we are promised that we can have what we want and have it now – and more than that, that we can have now what we do not want or need.
Waiting has its own value and dignity. Advent is the invitation to wait on God and glimpse God in that space. We live in a time when thoughts of the future may fill people with fear – and not with hope and joy. We must learn to hope, to rest, even to pray and to wait.
So think about waiting. Spare a thought for those who wait anxiously or are in need. May these days running up to Christmas be for us a time when we open to see living in a different light and in a deeper trust in hope and love. Here God rests with us.
– Prof James Woodward, Principle of Sarum College