Waiting. We’re not very good at that anymore. Maybe we never were. But in this instant-everything modern age, we get frustrated if we have to wait for any length of time. Just the other day, I complained to my wife about a package I’d ordered from Amazon that hadn’t arrived yet. After all, it had been three whole days. And, according to a recent New York Times article, “People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds.” That’s .25 seconds. Way too long for any sane person to wait.
Waiting feels like time wasted. And who can afford to waste time these days? We have too much to do. Every second counts.
But the advent season is all about waiting. During advent, we’re reminded of all those centuries when God’s people awaited the fulfillment of God’s promises, the years of uncertainty, the time of doubt. This side of Christmas, it’s easy to think that this season is all about arrival, the birth of Jesus. And that’s partly true. The story does find its fitting climax in the coming of the Messiah. But let’s not forget the waiting that preceded Christ’s advent, the waiting that marked the time before Christmas, the waiting that God forced his people to endure.
Maybe a little waiting is a good thing. I know that’s a heretical thought for some of us, but bear with me. Here are five things that I think we can get from waiting. They probably won’t help much the next time that you’re stuck in a traffic jam on your way to an important event, but I still think they’re worth reflecting on.