December 4

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Psalm 130: 5-8 says:

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

 

We are not very good at waiting, most of us.  When we think of waiting, it calls to mind the feeling of being delayed.  We think of having to sit in a waiting room with tattered magazines that may not interest us much.  It feels like wasting time. Whether we are standing behind a line of people at the checkout lane, stuck in traffic, or anticipating test results, waiting is not a very appealing activity, and certainly does not seem productive.

 

There’s a story about a group of Jewish students who were diligently preparing to become rabbis. Day after day they read and studied the Scriptures, pored over various interpretations of the law and prayed regularly together and on their own.

One day their teacher told them, “Full experiences of God can never be planned or achieved. They are spontaneous moments of grace, almost accidental.”

His students couldn’t believe what they were hearing.

One of the students asked, “Rabbi, if experiencing God is just accidental, why do we work so hard doing all these spiritual practices?”

The Rabbi replied, “So that we may be as accident prone as possible.”

 

Through worship and prayer that accompany the season of Advent, we are making ourselves as accident-prone as possible to the coming of God in our midst.

 

Advent is the season of waiting for Christmas, looking for the surprise we know God will provide.  We wait with anticipation and hope.  We wait with even more longing than the watchmen who have kept guard through the dark and dangerous night are yearning to see the dawn.  And we can be confident that, like all things, it will come in God’s time.

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