Sunday, December 21, 2008

Don't forget to wait

FRIAR'S CORNER, December 21, 2008:

As we find ourselves today on this last Sunday of our Advent season (already!), you may be among those for whom the chaos level is ever rising. Just a few days left and so much to do – presents to buy, food to prepare, travel to plan. But, our liturgy and our Scripture calls us to something else – to slow down again, and spend these last few days waiting.

Waiting is often underrated in our society. We do not like to wait. You know this as you’ve probably been frustrated in long lines at the Mall or elsewhere. People get anxious and even ornery when they have to wait, but waiting is actually a wonderful thing when we take the time to embrace it.

There are many songs about waiting. Immediately, I think of a song by Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Of course, we’ve been singing every week as our Communion Meditation, “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near. Wait for the Lord. Be strong. Take heart.”

In our Gospel today, we hear the ultimate story of waiting. The angel appears to Mary and tells her what is going to happen. She is going to be with child. Then the angel departs and Mary is left to basically wait. Anyone who is a mother knows what that waiting is about. Even as I write this, a very good friend of mine is in labor awaiting her first child.

And what happens when we take the time to wait? Well, waiting is full of possibilities. As my friends wait, we all wonder, will it be a boy or a girl? I’m sure the parents wonder, am I ready for this? Will we be good parents? What lays beyond this day? Will every day after today be different? Waiting is full of possibilities and full of potential. My friends know this, Mary knew this, and our liturgy calls each of us to know it as well.

So, try and find the time this week to wait – not in long lines, or traffic, or for a parking spot at the Mall – but wait for the Lord. Don’t take Christmas for granted. Don’t think you know what it will be. Sure, we will do all the same things – go to certain parties, go to Christmas Mass, have certain foods for dinner and probably even get some gifts we are expecting. But, this isn’t the kind of waiting I’m talking about.

The externals of our celebration may be just the same as they were last year; as they are every year, but something extraordinary is going to happen – Jesus will be born again. Don’t take it for granted. Make it new in your heart. Find some time to just be quiet with the Lord each of the final days of our Advent. And allow your religious imagination to explore an incredible reality – that Jesus is coming. That Jesus wants to enter your life again; your life new. What will that be like? Are you ready? How will the days after Christmas be different for you because of His arrival?

There’s only one way to know – don’t forget to wait.

Fr. Tom

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