Awhile back I went to Disneyland with a friend and her two small boys. After waiting in one of the labyrinthine lines for a ride, her 4-year-old said to me with a sigh, “It’s a hard time.” His mother clarified that he meant it was a long time – he often mixed up his descriptors. But I thought he was pretty accurate. Waiting can be a hard time.
And we really don’t like to wait. We live in a world of “buy now, pay later,” “on demand,” “same-day delivery,” and even “live-streaming.” (You can’t get much quicker than live.) But the reality is that we spend a good deal of our lives waiting. Think doctor’s office, DMV or car repairs. We wait for a bad haircut to grow out. We wait for that last ten pounds to come off. We wait to meet that special man or woman we might marry. We wait for promotions, the right time to buy or sell, and for people to change. Me, I tap my foot waiting 2:25 for the popcorn in the microwave.
I suppose I’ve been thinking about this because I’m currently “waiting” for the next job opportunity. It’s uncertain; a lot of treading water, trying to make ends meet, and trusting God. It’s a hard time.
But it’s also the Christmas season. Advent – the coming of Christ into the world. We celebrate God breaking through all dimensions of time and space and matter to become Immanuel… God with us. But it happened after nearly 2,000 years of waiting. Now that’s some hard time. I think the following Christmas carol beautifully expresses the longing:
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
So rejoice. In the hard times of waiting, we are no longer alone. God is with us.