The word “Advent” might mean “to come,” but this season feels like it’s all about waiting. I recall as a kid, waiting for Christmas, waiting for the decorations, waiting for the tree, waiting for our stockings, waiting for Santa. Eternal waiting.
Advent says that we know what we’re waiting for. The coming of God’s Son. The ultimate proof of God’s love for us. The One who showed us in His coming how we are all the children of God.
As I write this, my wife and I eagerly await the arrival of a second grandson due any day now. (By the time you read this, that baby might be here on earth cradled in his mother’s arms.)
The thing about having children is that you never know exactly what to expect. The doctors can tell you whether it’s a boy or a girl. You can see in a sonogram what that baby in the womb looks like. You can think of what you were like as a kid and project all sorts of expectations.
But there’s no telling how that baby will turn out. My wife and I are both writers. Word people. Who would have guessed that our eldest son, William, would be such a math whiz? Where did that come from?
In high school our second son, Timothy, looked like he’d be a rock star. He had the hair for it. And the demeanor. Who would have guessed that he would hear a call for the ministry and is now attending seminary?
Well, maybe there were hints. One of his favorite Bible verses as a kid was “I am the alpha and omega…” a reference to first and last letters in the Greek alphabet (Revelation 21:6). He’d ask me to read it to him from my Bible.
These days he tells me what he’s learned in his Greek class, translations of some of the original Greek from the gospels.
The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her what she should expect. “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
If you heard words like that, wouldn’t you be ready to put on your fancy clothes? Wouldn’t you expect your child to live in a castle, wear a crown and sit on a throne? Mary didn’t know yet what kind of kingdom her Son would bring.
All of this is to say, my prayers at Advent are ones of expectation. Something’s coming. Something big, something bigger than I could ever guess. I wait and I pray.