I know I am not always a patient person. I can be, but there are times when I am forced to wait that seem to just grate on me. When I’m stressed, or in a hurry, I do not want to bide my time. When my plate is too full, my patience starts to wear thin. In any given week, all of us are forced to wait for something that we feel is important to us. I think of those in our church who are anxiously awaiting the news on a medical test. Or some difficulty or crisis has happened to a member of our family, who is far away. We worry through the waiting times to know if they are going to be all right. Our world is in a difficult place of waiting through uncertainty, violence and terror. We eagerly want things to improve, but changing the course of world events seems so far out of our hands.
We begin this Sunday our Advent season, an important time in our church as we prepare our homes and faith for Christmas. We get ready for the coming of God’s chosen One, our messiah and Lord, Jesus Christ. Our Advent season is all about waiting. It is a theme that runs through the days and weeks. We look to Christmas when Jesus will arrive and so we live with an anticipation and excitement for the fulfillment of a promise made long ago, that God would send us a savior. We also look to God to bring hope and help to our troubled world. The Apostle Paul uses the metaphor of labor pains and all creation being in labor as God sets us free from decay and sin. The entire creation longs for a new birth and existence, but we are in that time of waiting when it has not fully happened yet. We are left wondering and struggling about what we should do in the interim. Is there a constructive way to wait? Sunday we’ll talk about how we do this in an often imperfect world. We’ll talk about what we expect from God as we look to Christmas. We’ll talk about how we are to live by faith and what we can practice as we await God’s arrival. God is always working in our lives. Sometimes it is less visible, but under the surface, God is doing such good things. We live this week in the spirit of gratitude for God’s many gifts to us. We worship this Sunday in thankfulness for God’s presence and help that is always available. Join us as we come to receive God’s grace and strength.