Advent and waiting / not waiting

Expecting.  Hope.  Waiting. 

These are words and spiritual orientations that come with the Advent season.  They are each, on the surface, future oriented, looking to the time, not long off, when Christ will be born.  Or when we get to open the presents.  Or when we round the bend of the winter solstice and start to turn again, ever so slightly at first, toward the growing light.    

Looking toward the joyful coming of these times and marking the receding gap between now and then is one of the ways of living within this season, or any season.


I’m not sure when it happened or what prompted it, but at some point, however many years back, I decided I never again want to wish away time.  I seek to resist the urge to orient life around a highly anticipated future event, reducing the time between now and then into an obstacle to be hurdled. 

The thing with wishing away time is that it’s one of the few categories in which we always get our wish.  Time will pass.  And so will that highly anticipated event.

What I increasingly appreciate about Advent is how the invitations of expecting, hope, and waiting can reorient my – our – relationship with the present.  A deepening relationship with time.  Our current Advent theme of “Expecting Emmanuel” is a reminder that expectancy wishes to create an opening in us.  To expect “God with us,” the meaning of Emmanuel, is to create space within our lives for encountering that which has been there all along.  That which shines within the precious present.

I’m writing this as someone with two children in high school, realizing the time is short, not wanting to miss any day.  I’m writing this as someone who is learning to love the darkness of this season.  I’m writing this as someone who needs to be reminded frequently of the very thing I’m trying to say here.

It’s Advent and we’re waiting for everything.  And in that very waiting, we find fulfillment.  It’s Advent, and we’re not waiting for anything because it’s all here now.