During Advent Who Waits: God, Jesus or Us?
Advent is a time of waiting. The songs we sing, such as “O Come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel” speak of God coming to save us. As I thought about this, I wondered, Is Advent only about our waiting for Jesus? Maybe, just maybe there’s another way to grasp the meaning of waiting in Advent.
What if this season is about Christ waiting for us? What if He is waiting for us to hear His voice and respond? We know that our world is God’s dream for us, a place to live and enjoy.
This is how Adam and Eve came to be: God wanted to share His dream with them. In the garden, they had everything they needed to be happy including God as a walking companion. In Genesis we read that God’s favorite time of the day was walking in the garden with Adam and Eve in the “cool of the evening.”
But we know what happened later. Adam and Eve choose the serpent’s promises instead of following God’s voice. And even though we are redeemed through Christ’s coming, dying, and rising, our flawed hearts still make unwise choices.
But every Advent Jesus comes wanting for us to hear his voice. He doesn’t come in a cloud, or in a pillar fire as in Moses’ day, but through the mournful cries of the marginalized, those lost people living in the shadows and waiting to be seen. They may be a family member, a neighbor, or a co-worker hungering for a gentle voice or a merciful word.
Each Advent Jesus’ voice calls us from the silence of the lonely waiting for an embrace that signals belonging. Jesus voice cries out in the darkness to each of us to bring His light to those hearts shrouded in fear.
With each lighting of the Advent wreath candles, we hear the voices of the lonely and marginalized as God heard His enslaved people in Egypt, and led them to the Promised Land. “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and I have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering” (Exodus 3:7)
Today our voices are different from the Israelites of long ago. During Advent, Jesus waits for us to break down the barriers and see what He saw when He walked the earth. Today, we are His voice, His feet, reaching out to those who need to hear His gentle words of mercy and belonging.
Advent is our time to “repent our sins and prepare for Jesus.” We do this by brushing away all division and hatred from our hearts and look for ways to put others before ourselves. When we do this, Jesus is born again, not in a manger, but in each of us. And God’s dream for our world comes ever closer! Are you ready? Jesus is waiting for you.