Advent: A Different Kind of Waiting (Week 2)

Pop quiz.

What is one of the best antidotes to holiday stress?

Answer? Waiting.

No, really. The answer is waiting.

I think one of the reasons you and I get so overwhelmed during the Christmas season is because we are terrible at waiting, and we hate it when we are forced to practice it.

But being forced to wait is often God’s preferred method to help us keep our sanity. How is it that, when I have so much to do, waiting helps me keep my sanity?

That’s the subject of this week’s Advent: A Different Kind of Waiting post, where I share some of the best Advent posts from around the Web.

In a thought-provoking post, Wheaton College Professor Dr. Marc Cortez reminds us that waiting can change the way we view our time. He provides us with five great ways being forced to wait can be a blessing. I particularly like his fourth point:

4. Waiting reminds us that the present matters.

Sometimes I think waiting frustrates us because we’re too future-oriented, always focused on what comes next. But what about now? Next is in God’s hands. Now is what we have. Done well, being forced to wait can be like watching a particularly spectacular movie scene in slow motion. You know the movie will continue playing at regular speed soon, but for now you’re just enjoying what’s on the screen.

I don’t know about you, but I need to hear that just about every day.

The rest of the post is just as good. So click below and enjoy this timely, hidden gem of a devotional by Dr. Cortez. Let it change the way you view your time this Advent  season. Then come back and share with us which of Marc’s points resonated most with you.

Blessings!

Forced to Wait: An Advent Reflection

by Marc Cortez December 17, 2012

 

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Advent… A Different Kind of Waiting

Once, as a Boy Scout traveling to a campground many hours away, I purchased a bucket of Coke at a pit stop (66 ounces to be exact) and drank it all in the following thirty minutes. At which point all 66 ounces of soda decided that they wanted to come out—the only problem was we were still two hours away from our destination and our driver was not going to stop. And so I waited. And waited. And waited.  I waited as we drove up thousands of feet on mountain roads. I waited as my friends enjoyed watching me squirm as they told jokes about waterfalls. And I waited as I literally felt my insides expand to their breaking point.  It was the first time I thought my bladder was actually going to burst, and truthfully, in that moment, if it had happened I would have been happy.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we came to a stop in front of a rustic, public restroom. I jumped out of the van, ran/waddled, to the door of beckoning freedom. With each step I fumbled with my my scout belt, trying to get it off before I entered the stall. Then terror ensued. My scout belt was stuck.

The belt was not your typical belt. It was the kind that had a square box with a metal pin in it to keep the belt cord from moving. And that two-inch pin was stuck—jammed sideways and not moving. I started to panic, my legs went numb, and my mind raced for a solution, as all the while I tugged for dear life on that little metal pin that stood between me and ethereal relief.

I stared at the white porcelain seat that had once been my hope and refuge, but now only seemed to mock me in my plight. So close, yet so far away. The pressure mounted, my hand started to shake, and sweat like dew covered my flushed face. I thought, it’s over. I began to resign myself to the inevitable end that I was going to have to let all 66 ounces out into my pine green scout shorts and onto the grey wood floor. But then it happened. By sheer miracle, that little brass pin moved and my scout belt flung open. And there, in a wooden shelter of a bathroom, I stood in victory… for at least ten minutes.

The season of Advent is about waiting, but thankfully it is a different kind of waiting.

In God’s kingdom, waiting isn’t meant to be an excruciating, painful, no-end-in-sight delayed experience, like a liquid-filled Boy Scout waiting for relief. Rather, waiting, for God’s children, is meant to be something entirely different, something of a blessing.

How can that be? Over the next four Mondays I’ll share what I consider to be some of the best Advent post from around the Web, all addressing the blessing of waiting.  My hope is that it will change the way you and I think about waiting and about the season of Advent.

First up, a fantastic article by Rob Bell.  Now, I definitely do not agree with everything Rob Bell has written in recent years. But back before he kissed evangelical theology goodbye, he wrote a very good article about Advent and the Church Calendar. It is Rob Bell at his best, and, for every Christian, an article worth reading.  So click on the link below and read the article, then come back and share your thoughts in the comment section. Enjoy!

 

Why Should We Care About Advent? By Rob Bell November 29, 2010

 

 

 

Next week, a post from  Marc Cortez (Associate Professor of Theology at Wheaton College)

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For those looking for some good Advent resources, here are a couple of inexpensive, but helpful books:

(Download this one for free at www.desiringgod.org)