Dec. 9: Waiting for what we need
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Christmas morning at my home in Pennsylvania looked a little bit different than many households. Instead of kids tearing down the stairs, too antsy to wait to open their gifts until a reasonable hour, my family opened presents on Christmas Eve. Regardless though, we three kids would still be up early in the morning, anticipating the events of the day. Before I can remember, my dad started a tradition of hiding half dollars in each of our rooms, giving us the task of finding all the hidden coins before we came downstairs. We always thought it was for our enjoyment, loving every minute of the search. Now that we’ve grown up, we’ve realized that our parents were really just looking to secure themselves an extra hour of sleep. Whatever their original motives, they also taught us something about patience.
Patience is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot. Kids waiting for supper—be patient. Drivers waiting in traffic—be patient. Parents getting frustrated with their kids—be patient. Patience is easy to talk about, but harder to practice. In different circumstances throughout my life, this is what I’ve learned about patience so far:
It’s easy to wait for things you don’t want. I would have been more than willing to wait for years to get my wisdom teeth out or to take the SATs.
It’s hard to wait for things you do want. Kids on Christmas morning want to race down the stairs and get started on the presents, the food, the gatherings. Be patient.
It’s even more difficult to wait for things that you need. I’ve never had the experience of needing food or water in a life or death circumstance, but I know what it is to be in need. I know what it means to need support, to need answers, to need hope. It is extraordinarily difficult to be patient in those circumstances.
Advent is a time of waiting. We long for Christ’s presence, hope, joy, consistency and peace. We are all waiting for things that we need, and we don’t know exactly how or when our needs will be met. But as people of faith, we wait with confidence knowing that our needs will be met, assured by the faithfulness of God and the promise of the coming of Jesus Christ. What is it that you want? What is it that you need?
Peace to you as you wait.
SCRIPTURE: James 5:7-10 (NRSV)