Happy New Year to all! Of course, this only makes sense if you are one of those who follow the church year and remember that the first Sunday in Advent is a new beginning. I talked about this during my Children’s message this morning, and of course they all thought I was crazy.
It’s Advent again, the time of watching and waiting that seems so strange in our culture, and at odds with the values surrounding us. That’s especially clear to those who battled the crowds on “Black Friday” to try and get the deals that all the stores were offering. I heard story after story of folks who waited in line at 4:30 in the morning to get the jump on their shopping. Waiting? No way. Let’s get while the getting is good. So all the parking lots filled up, people waited in long lines, and the general grumpiness that surounds the day after Thanksgiving sales was in abundance.
I couldn’t handle the crowd (I get claustrophobic at times) so I hung out with Anna at the house until time to head to my mom’s for our annual day after Thanksgiving feast. Then, much later that night after we had returned home and I had made a hospital visit, I ventured into Walmart to pick up some supplies for worship only to discover an empty store. The things that I needed were present in abundance and I didn’t even have to wait in a checkout line. Waiting had paid off.
I confess that every year Kay and I have a conversation about how we are going to try and get our Christmas shopping done early. Kay is diligent in this task. She even ventured out on Black Friday to Toyz R Us to see what she could find for the girls. I, on the other hand, never get around to shopping until mid December. Some of this is my normal procrastination mode (I work better under pressure). But I am coming to see some of this as a desire to push back on the culture which suggests that I am a slacker if I’m not out spending too much money to get the perfect gift. I’m not ready to shop for Christmas in November. I need to wait. Christmas is indeed coming — I can never ignore that fact. But to try and rush Christmas into coming too early seems to continue the human condition of trying to control the agenda rather than taking what is given to us.
Waiting is an imporant discipline, and one that drives many of us crazy. Frankly I’m one in the camp that values instant gratification (it maybe why I like the internet and email so much). Yet, there is something intangibly valuable about being forced to wait, about remembering that things are outside of our control and that we are subject to forces beyond ourselves. Waiting pushes us to God.
I would say more, but I just fell asleep at the computer. It’s time for rest.