The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, and most of us are going to eat well. All of the major retail stores have let us know that even before our food has fully digested, they’ll be opening so that we can come on in and shop for Christmas gifts. “Come! Come! Come!,” they’re saying. “We have great deals for you, and you can’t afford to wait!” I think that Black Friday begins earlier and earlier every year. Retailers are great at organized creation of dissatisfaction. As consumers we actually begin to delight in the restlessness that’s created. Author William Cavanaough puts it well when he says,
“Shopping and not just buying, but shopping for new things becomes a form of pleasure. We continually alight on another thing thinking that it will satisfy us.”This is part of the reason why the Advent season is such a blessing for us. It is the first season of the Christian year, and it doesn’t start with a party. Advent is a “season of waiting,” and this year it begins on Sunday, December 1. While the stores are saying to us, “Come! Come! Come!,” and the stress of this time of year says, “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!,” the Church in wisdom calls us to “Wait! Wait! Wait!” Waiting is so very difficult for us, but it is so very necessary.
The new Christian year begins with us remembering Jesus’ first coming and anticipating his coming again. What we are waiting for is Jesus the King to come and fix all that is broken, including us. We can neither gather nor give enough gifts at Christmastime to satisfy the longing of our hearts.
Of this wonderful day we’re called to wait for, the prophet Isaiah promises,
“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:8-9).
We invite you to join us at City of Hope as we begin this season of waiting.