Wait: Hope is Growing
I’ve never been great at waiting. I’ll be honest, I’m terrible at it.
Patience is a virtue, they say. But I look at my little seven-month old son hitting the floor impatiently and he doesn’t have it either. He’s just learned to crawl but he already wants to be walking. So I wonder if perhaps there’s something genetic my family simply didn’t get.
Coming from the contemporary church, it has been something of a joy to be able to learn from more traditional or liturgical Christianity. Hands down, my favourite season is advent.
Advent is about practicing waiting. But not the kind of waiting we tend to practice in ordinary life, say, waiting for the dentist in a vague terror. No, this is hopeful waiting. The season represents both a celebration of the coming of the Christ child, and also a reminder of the second coming of Christ, who will renew the world.
The words of Mary in Luke 1: 38 announce her acceptance of God’s plan, “I am the Lord’s servant… may your word to me be fulfilled. And then it says in the text “Then the angel left her.”
There’s all kinds of silence, right? But it’s a special kind of silence that comes after the word of the angel of the Lord disappears.
This silence also marks the time of Mary’s pregnancy.
And pregnancy is a perfect metaphor to think through the season as we await the celebration of Christ the King.
There’s something to celebrate, but there is also need for recognition of the current silence in which we hear the groans of the earth and the many hurts of our world. We realise that it still awaits the Saviour.
This is a growing awareness that something is definitely changing. And yet it is also unrealised.
The bump grows, and grows … and grows. With it, so does the expectation.
Until it is almost overwhelming.
Hope is incredibly powerful.
We can pray from hope, and expect something new.
God hears us.
Just as Israel hoped for a Saviour and this was fulfilled, we are able to pray audacious, hope-filled prayers leading into Christmas Day.
Hope is growing. You cannot always see it, and when you do it takes a long long time to come to fruition - but it will eventually be born.
Jesus, for all those with broken hearts who are dreading this Christmas, may they be comforted, and find moments of gladness as they wrestle with their pain.
For those who are working in retail this Christmas season, give them restful moments between their shifts, and may they know peace.
For all the pastors serving this Christmas season, may they be given grace to speak words of life, and may they find meaningful time with family in amongst their work.
For the lonely who long for invitation to come and sit at the table, may they receive what they hope for, and find true friendship and love.
For all of us in our diversity – the bees and polar bears, the bright-eyed children and elderly grandparents – we wait upon you even still with eager anticipation for the renewing of the world.
Dr Tanya Riches has published a number of well-known songs through Hillsong Music Australia, including ‘Jesus What A Beautiful Name,’ which reached #6 on Australia’s CCLI worship charts. Her album 'Grace' is available on iTunes.