A Season of Holy Waiting
by Sister Kathleen Hofer
Advent: a season of waiting, a season that looks forward to a new beginning, a season of hopefulness for the new year.
Waiting is something very few, if any of us, like to do. It seems like such a waste of time – so unproductive. As much as we may dislike having to wait, there are times when we have no choice. Are these times, then, times of emptiness for us? Or are we able to learn to pause and more fully experience the world around us, to enrich our lives during these times of waiting?
Advent is a wonderful time to practice the virtue of patience when we must wait. It is a time to get in touch with our inner spirit, a good time to allow our waiting moments to be in tune with the beginning of the Church Year as we ponder and wait for the coming of the Christ Child. Advent is a time of holy waiting and preparing for the Prince of Peace.
Times of waiting are part of the Church Year. Times of waiting are plentiful throughout the scriptures. The Apostles waited for the coming of the Spirit. The father of the prodigal son waited for his return. The people of Israel waited for the Messiah. Mary waited for the birth of her child.
In the spirit of Advent, during our waiting we strive to be still, to listen to the prophets, to quietly let the sense of the coming of something new take hold of us. The visions of the prophet Isaiah for peace are brought to us frequently during Advent as he writes of a peaceable kingdom:
“Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair” (Isaiah 11:6-8).
With the coming of the birth of Christ a sense of new beginnings takes hold – a quiet hopefulness and anticipation of something new. The coming of the birth of Christ brings a subdued call to new life within each of us, the possibility of hope and peace for all in the world. The Prince of Peace is coming!
May God be fully present in our waiting this Advent. May we treasure the quiet and the inner peace of this most holy season. May our precious waiting prepare us to more fully experience the wonder and the beauty of celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Christ Child.
Have a Blessed Advent!