It is hard to consider waiting as valuable and helpful. My family laughs at me because I never go anywhere that I might have to wait without taking a magazine or some reading material. I don’t want to waste my time!
Learning to wait for God can be difficult for us. It can be a spiritual practice, perhaps even a skill. It’s easy to lose patience, to wrestle with our doubts and theological questions about where God is and what God is trying to tell us. At times, we may feel like giving up on God. As Christmas nears, we read again the story of Mary, a young, unwed pregnant mother. She visits her cousin, Elizabeth, an older woman, also unexpectedly pregnant. These women have been surprised by God. Now they are waiting for the day of birth and the unfolding discovery of what their children will become. Mary sings a beautiful song, a song we have come to call the Magnificat (from Mary’s opening line: “My soul magnifies the Lord”). Mary talks of the promises of God that will be fulfilled. She names themes that will be expressed and lived out in Jesus’ ministry. I am always moved by her song. She speaks of hopes for our world and those who suffer much. Mary recalls God’s deep faithfulness to her people, a faithfulness that will find its fullest expression in the life and work of Jesus.
To name and trust the promises of God is a beautiful element of our Christmas season. What are you waiting and hoping for this Christmas? Have you offered that to God in prayer? Children often make “wish lists” for Christmas, but we can offer our prayers of hope to God and join together as we wait, expectantly, hopefully, living each day relying on what God alone can provide for us. God does come through. God’s faithfulness does endure. Mary and Elizabeth experienced this first hand and we can too. Sunday, come worship with us as we meet God, whose faithful love reaches into our world and our lives.