category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 26

Thursday,  December 22

Luke 1:46b-55; Isaiah 33:17-22; Revelation 22:6-7, 18-20

Waiting is the story of life. We wait on all sorts of things, events, and people, for the package to arrive or for the trip to begin. Then there are moments when the gravity of waiting is heavy: waiting on the results of a medical test or to hear the critical surgery is over and all went well. Waiting is the story of our lives.

Waiting captures the essence of the Advent journey. For centuries, folk waited on the arrival of Israel’s true king, coming to bring peace, justice, redemption, and holiness, waiting for God to be fully in charge. Isaiah’s words for today are all about waiting to see the arrival of the king who is both lawgiver and rescuer.

Mary’s Magnificat is pregnant with expectation, and still she waits. The arrival of the Son of the Most High is just about here. Still, she waits. And all the things the Christ will accomplish are all the things we would expect from a good and righteous king: lifting up the lowly and dashing the arrogant. Waiting is the story of our lives, isn’t it?

Waiting is the story of our faith as well. For here we are, two thousand years removed from the cosmic-quaking and breath-taking moment of incarnation, and we are still waiting, not on the arrival of Jesus as a baby but as eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Word made flesh, promising His words are trustworthy and true, brings about an important aspect of waiting: trust.

As we wait, we are tested in trust. The reason we are not good at waiting is because we are not good at trusting. Waiting and trusting go hand in hand. Waiting calls on us to trust the promise that what we wait for will come to pass, and that the one who makes the promise is trustworthy and worthy of our waiting. Advent reminds us that God’s promises are kept by the Holy Spirit. Advent reminds us that God’s promises are “enfleshed” in Jesus Christ. Advent reminds us that the future is secure and worth waiting for.

Waiting leaves us in this moment of “not yet.” Waiting hopes that the not yet is coming and calls us to live our lives trusting that God is still in control. We should remember that Advent began in the Christian church not as a time to prepare for the birth of Christ, but to focus on and prepare for the second coming of Christ. There is a sharp eschatological edge to the sword-turned-plowshare gift of Advent. There is a day coming when what God promised long ago, then “enfleshed” through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, will be brought to final completion and fulfillment. This is the waiting edge of Advent.

Until that day comes, may our lives-lived in and lived out of the death and resurrection of Christ-be the living and breathing witness.

Andrew Rawls
School of Divinity Graduate

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