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Vol. 79 - No. 12
December 2008

WORD FROM THE PASTOR:             

"Waiting"

We spend an incredible amount of our time and energy waiting for things. Here are just a few examples that come to mind:

–People lined up for days for last week’s premiere of the new vampire movie, "Twilight"

–High school students all over the country waiting for acceptance letters from the

colleges they’ve applied to

–A new album released by the rock group Guns ‘n’ Roses, after a wait of 17 years by

the band’s followers

–The recently released Indiana Jones movie, long-awaited by Indy devotees –Waiting for a new administration to take office in Washington, and wondering how the new president will govern.

–Waiting in long lines at stores during the holiday season (and sometimes waiting in a traffic jam at the parkway exit ramp just to get to the mall)

Waiting for worrisome economic news to get better

–Waiting for medical test results

–Waiting to hear on the job you’ve applied for

–Waiting for the new season of "24" to begin (after a year and a half hiatus because of the writers’ strike)

Some of these examples of waiting are pretty trivial (as eagerly as one might await a new rock album or a film or a TV series, it’s hardly a life-changing event). Others have a deep impact on the life of individuals (a new job, a medical test, acceptance to a school). Some touch the whole country (better economic news, a new administration). But all these examples, from the trivial to the crucial, show how common waiting is in our lives.

I’ve often said that the blessed season of Advent is my favorite time of the church year–because of all the sacred seasons, its tone is the closest to that of our daily lives. It’s a season about waiting, and so much of our lives are about waiting.

Advent is about waiting for God. It invites us to consider the ages between Adam and 

Jesus–when the sinful world longed for salvation, the anguished world longed for peace, the darkened world longed for light. God promised to send salvation and peace and light...and the world waited. And then...the Bethlehem night was pierced by the cry of a newborn child, and heavenly light shone brilliantly on the shepherds...and the long wait was over.

Advent also invites us to think about the Second Coming of Christ...how the child born that Bethlehem night will return in glory, as the victorious Lord of all. He has promised to return–to bring perfect peace, endless light, a new world of bliss and splendor. We await the dawning of that glorious day.

As we enter into the spirit of Advent, we inevitably think of how, in our individual lives, we are waiting on God...waiting for Him to heal, waiting for Him to deepen our faith, waiting on Him to turn a loved one’s life around, waiting on Him to brighten our financial picture. Even as the world waited for salvation, we in our individual lives are waiting for God to act.

When we wait for something, we are sometimes disappointed when it arrives–after all, the Guns ‘n’ Roses album and the Indiana Jones film both got pretty lukewarm reviews! But when we wait for God, we will never be disappointed. Scripture makes some wonderful promises for those who wait on God:

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with

wings like eagles’; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:25-26)

The church during Advent tells us to wait for God–to wait for God’s healing, to wait for God’s hope. And we can wait–because we know that God keeps His promises.

When God acts in our lives after all our waiting, it may not always take the form we envision. (Perhaps even the shepherds and the Wise Men felt that way–"What? We’ve been waiting for thousands of years for a Saviour and King, and we get this little baby born to a poor family?") But it will always be right. It will always be what we need. Waiting on the Lord always brings blessing.

In the "MASH" film and TV series, the character Walter "Radar" O’Reilly got his nickname because he could hear the medical helicopters coming before anyone else. Radar would cry out, "Choppers"–and everyone would give him a funny look, because no one else could hear any choppers. Then Radar would insist: "Wait for it!" And a few seconds later, the sound of rotors would be heard. That’s what the church’s message for us is like during Advent. "God is coming! God is coming to bless and save!" the church cries. And when we reply with a perplexed look that says, "How can God be coming when I have these challenges in my life?"–the church says, "Wait for it!"

And when we heed the church’s cry, and wait for God, we will not be disappointed.

God loves you and so do I!

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