I must admit, that patience is not a virtue that comes easily to me. Waiting for something, whether it’s a package from Amazon or standing in line at the grocery store, tends to frustrate me. Even sitting in traffic on the highway can test my patience to its limits. Waiting is just not my thing.
When Was The Last Time You Waited?
But when was the last time you had to wait for something? What were you waiting for? And how did it make you feel?
Waiting becomes a little more bearable when we know that what we’re waiting for will bring us joy. Waiting in line at the airport may not bother us as much because we know that we’ll soon be on our way to a vacation destination. And while I may not be a mother, I can imagine that the wait of carrying a child feels worthwhile because the end result is holding your baby in your arms. The anticipation of future delight makes the present waiting more bearable.
This is what the season of Advent is all about – waiting with joyful anticipation. Advent, which means “coming,” is a time of anticipation for the arrival of Jesus, celebrated at Christmas. Advent will officially begin on December 3 and even if you don’t typically observe Advent, I encourage you to embrace this season of waiting. Advent teaches us that waiting is not just a burden, but a gift. It offers us the opportunity to slow down and persevere.
Advent teaches us the value of slowing down. Waiting often feels like time has come to a standstill, which is why impatience can easily creep in. But there is something beautiful about time slowing down. In our fast-paced lives, we are constantly moving from one thing to the next, never taking a moment to pause and reflect. It can be difficult for us to be still, but when we allow ourselves to stop, we create space for contemplation. Think about what you usually do when you have to wait. For me, it’s reaching for my phone, distracting myself with mindless scrolling. But in doing so, I miss out on the opportunity to slow my mind, process my thoughts, and prepare my heart for the day. The moments of waiting that the Lord gives us throughout our day are actually gifts, inviting us to slow down and be still.
Advent Is A Season That Slows Us Down
Advent is a season that calls us to slow down. Christmas is coming, but it’s not here yet. Instead of rushing through the days to get everything done or hurrying to check off our Christmas gift list, we can intentionally slow down. We can take moments throughout our day for reflection and contemplation, focusing on the true meaning of the Christmas season. We can put ourselves in the shoes of the Israelites who waited for the arrival of the Savior thousands of years ago. Just as they prepared their hearts for His coming, we can use the Advent season to draw near to God’s Word and come to Him in prayer. Waiting time is not wasted time, so let us embrace the opportunity that Advent brings to slow down and meditate on the gift of Christ’s coming.
Advent also teaches us the importance of perseverance. Looking ahead to what we are waiting for gives us the strength to endure the waiting. For example, knowing that your best friend will arrive in two weeks helps you push through the moments in between. In the Old Testament, God helped the Israelites persevere by giving them prophecies of the coming Savior. He instilled hope in their hearts for the future, even as they faced hardships in the present. When their hope wavered, they could remind themselves of the promised Savior who would bring lasting restoration.
A Second Advent?
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, has already come, but there is a Second Advent when He will return to bring about ultimate restoration. The Advent season reminds us of Jesus’ first coming, but it also stirs anticipation for His second coming. Just like the Israelites, the future arrival of Christ motivates us in the present. As we look ahead, we are reminded that the difficulties of our lives are temporary. We wait with hope for the day when Christ will return and make all things new.
The Advent season reminds us that, just like the Israelites persevered as they waited for the Savior, we too can persevere as we wait for our Savior’s return. Though the present may be challenging and wearisome, Advent encourages us to look ahead and find rest in the coming of our Savior.
I sincerely hope and pray that you will consider embracing the season of Advent this year. Advent has so much to teach us, so I encourage you to embrace this season of waiting and allow it to cultivate joyful anticipation for our precious Savior.
One way to do that is by participating in Catholic-Link’s Advent Digital Small Group. Join us as we read Prepare Your Heart by Fr. Agustino Torres, CFR—founder of Corazón Puro—which is multimedia Advent journey led by the saints and the Holy Family to prepare yourself to enter into the story of Christ’s birth through prayer, charity, and joyful acts of service to the needy. We will meet for five weeks starting on November 25th. Register today!