Fourth Sunday of Advent (practicing waiting for the Lord)

Advent is a time when we learn how to wait for the Lord who comes in love. This implies that there is a proper way of waiting that characterizes Advent.  Henri Nouwen, in his essay “Waiting for God”

Elizabeth, Zechariah, Mary (in the Gospel of Luke) who exemplify this kind of waiting.  First, there is a sense of promise, says Nouwen.  Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah are promised children through whom God will do great things.  Thus, Zechariah and Mary, holding on to that promise, praise God, remembering that He is “full of mercy, bringing light to the dark… guiding our feet in the path of peace.”

We too must wait with a sense of promise, says Nouwen; because “we have already seen the footsteps of God.” We have tasted His goodness and want more (or want to want more).

So we wait confidently, hopefully; preparing ourselves by slowing down, clearing our minds and hearts to make more room for Jesus, which also means saying no to the chaos, hurry and materialism associated with “Christmas” in our culture.

The second thing that Nouwen points out is that this kind of waiting is active, not passive.  By active waiting, Nouwen means having confidence that what is going to happen is going to change and transform things and that we are eager and alert to be a part of it, to be present to it.

But one might ask, “What is going to happen?  Jesus has already come. What’s the big deal?”  As one Christian writer puts it, we are waiting and watching to see what might happen if we allow Jesus in more fully, more deeply; praying always, that He will “enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight.”

Juliet Setian

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