What are we waiting for?
The Liturgy of the Church indicates to us that Advent means a time waiting. What are we waiting for? Waiting for Christmas? Waiting for Christ? May be true but, in my opinion, it is only a partial answer. I believe that this question possess a deeper and a richer answer, inviting each one of us for a deeper reflection. I hope meditating on this basic, simple but profound question – what are we waiting for - will help us to celebrate this Christmas better. Therefore, let us ask ourselves once again, what are we waiting for?
Waiting had been an important theme in the pages of Bible. We read in the Bible that both as individuals and as nation, the people of Israel waited. They waited constantly. We read in the Bible that Noah began this practice of waiting. The list of waiting story is long within Bible: Abraham, Issac, Moses, David, Mary, Simeon, Paul and many others waited? What did they wait for? Did they wait for a particular thing to take place, as in the case of; Abraham for a son, Moses for the promised land, David for the Kingdom and Paul for eye sight, just to mention a few? The answer is both Yes and No. They did not just wait for a particular thing to take place. What then did they wait actually for ?
The answer is this. They waited in all these for the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled. They waited for the time when the Lord’s promise will be actualized in their life. They never waited for anything if it was not promised by the Lord. Noah, Abraham and all others waited because the Lord has promised them something. And they knew that the Lord will always be faithful to His promise and therefore they waited.
Hence, the truth of Advent waiting is not just for Christmas. In a way, we can say that it is not even a waiting for Christ but something more. In the waiting for Christ, we actually wait for the promise of the Lord. Is it not true that we wait for Christ just because the eternal Father has promised that He will send His son as our Messiah. In truth, we wait for the promise of the Lord in advent.
In fact, every liturgical season is waiting for the promise of the Lord. Easter, for example, is waiting for the promise of the Lord that He will redeem His people. Let us ask ourselves then, what is the promise of the Lord that we wait in Advent. There are two promises of the Lord that we wait during Advent. Again two passages in the Bible picture to us that promises.
John 3:16 pictures the first promise. “God so loved the world that He gave his only son.” God loves the world, meaning he loves you, your partner, your children, your brothers and sisters, your extended family, your co-worker, your friend and even the so called your enemies. God loves us all. Yes, we know about it. We have heard about it and studied about it. We understand it. However, often, we miss to experience it in our heart, deep within our soul. Advent is a time of waiting where we start to experience this promise of God. Advent is moment we try to open our hearts to this truth that God loves me. He cares for me. He is concerned about me. He holds good things for me. He loves me uniquely. This advent is a moment of waiting for the opening of your heart where this promise of God will be conceived. Believe this promise of God for you. He loves you.
The second promise is this. A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel which means God is with us (Is 7:14, Mt 1:23). God is with us always is the second promise of God in Christmas. St. Paul says, “even though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, He came to be with us (Phil 2: 6-11). He dwells with us. God chose to stay with us. God is with you and me, day and night, day after day and year after year. God is with us. Let this advent be a moment where we wait for the opening our heart to this promise of God. I am with you. I am there for you even if you do not see me.
St.Paul declares, if God is with us who can be against us (Rom 8:13). In the Silent Night the voice of God resounds this promise, “I am with you”. Yes, He is with us. He is with us always. Further, He is not just with us but He loves us. He loves us uniquely and wills always good for us. In the darkness of the night, the bright smile of Jesus tells us, “I love you”. Yes, He loves us. He loves us always. Therefore this Silent Night becomes the Holy Night.
May we hope that this advent be a moment where we conceive this promise of God in our hearts. Let us pray that we may duly prepare in this advent that we will be able to give birth to this promise of God in our daily lives. God is with me and He loves me. Therefore, there is nothing I shall fear (Psalm.23). And in fact, this is the joy of Christmas.
An Advent Message