I absolutely love the Christmas season. Really, I do. I fully immerse myself in all things Christmas—food, music, movies, décor, baking, gifts, parties—and advent. I love that we, as Jesus-followers, dedicate a whole season to celebrating the “expected waiting” or “coming” of Jesus.
If you’re like me, you hate waiting. And, here we are smack-dab in the middle of a season dedicated to waiting and the emotions it stirs. We spend four weeks focusing on the waiting—past and future of Jesus, God’s plan for redemption, peace on earth, joy, and hope.
People typically hate waiting, and my students are no exceptions. I have numerous conversations about how they are struggling with waiting on everything: the one, God’s will, the next step, graduation, their future, their dreams, other people, or the next big thing. We are always in a hurry to get to the next place or thing—to have or lose things, to change, to arrive, or to leave—that we forget that waiting is part of time, and time is part of life. We forget that waiting is not bad, but healthy and necessary. I remind students that waiting is not supposed to be a bad thing or a discouraging time but rather a time of hope, anticipation, growth, and living fully in the waiting—and embracing it.
God waited on Israel to see Him as their King, until the perfect time to send His Son. Jesus waited 33 years for the cross, then He waited three days in the grave, and now the church awaits His second coming. In all the times that Jesus waited for the “next big thing,” He lived life on purpose and with significance. If anyone understands waiting and the emotions (good and bad) that it brings, it is God. He gets the waiting. He created and lived it.
The waiting throughout Scripture is not just about waiting. It is about expected waiting. Expected waiting builds character, dependence on God, refines motives, and builds anticipation and hope. It is learning to wait on the Lord with the expectation of Him fulfilling His promises.
A relationship requires trust and hope and patience, and things are cultivated out of maturation and time…the waiting. See, we wait for what is worth waiting for, and God knows what is worth waiting for in all our lives. He knows that, while the result or the desired outcome is amazing, the waiting is the most important part. That is the season of building trust, faith, hope, grace, and courage, and it is when we get to know Immanuel, God with us.
We are to follow in Jesus’ example of what to do in the waiting. We are to serve, to live on purpose, to give grace, and point people to Jesus. We are to help bring “peace” on earth—the peace that only God can provide and that means He is in control. When we live in expected waiting, there is a hope that is different. Our lives have a purpose. God intended us to be relational with Him, and He plans to use us. Often, as we see in the Bible, it is in the waiting when He gives us opportunities to be used.
I know waiting is hard, but as Jesus-followers, we should live all of life in “expected waiting” because it makes a difference, and it makes the waiting purposeful. I hope you choose to cling to hope and live in expected waiting for the Advent of Christ.
Sarah Farley serves as the Associate Director at the BCM at LSU. She loves coffee and investing in students’ lives.