It's Good To Wait
As I was practicing my sermon yesterday morning, I had a strange epiphany that made me change some of my introductory remarks.
In the original draft of the sermon (which was mostly in my head), I was going to say something like, "Advent is a season when we live in expectation of the coming of the Messiah..."
But then I started thinking, "Is that a true statement for the people who are gathered in my church today?" What if there were people there who didn't really buy into the whole "waiting for the Messiah" thing?
So I changed what I was about to say to this, "Advent is a season when those of us who are Christians anticipate the coming of the Messiah." But that didn't sound right either.
I wondered aloud, "Is that what Christians are really doing? Do they really think that the Messiah is literally going to be arriving on December 24th?
So I changed things again. This time I said, "Advent is a season when those of us who are Christians anticipate the symbolic arrival of the Messiah." That seemed flat, too.
And that's when it occurred to me.
We're all waiting for something. All of us. No matter what we believe, or what we think we believe, or what we don't believe... we're all waiting for the Messiah.
We might express it differently, to be sure. There are some of us who say that we don't believe in any of the stories surrounding Advent---but we're still waiting. there are some of us who claim that there isn't any divine being out there loving us enough to become one of us---and we're still waiting, too.
And there are also those of us who say we believe, but wait longingly for something anything to happen to show us that our beliefs are well-founded--and we wait as well.
So I changed my words one last time--to something like this:
"All around the world millions of people are either symbolically anticipating the coming of the Messiah, and realistically anticipating the coming of something new."
Wherever you happen to be in your beliefs---this season of waiting is good for you. It's good for you to anticipate that something new is on the horizon. It's good for you to feel hopeful about tomorrow--knowing that there will be a new start, a new beginning.
It's good to know that you can let go of all of the things that have been keeping you from living your best and fullest life, and leave them behind. You can step into whatever new thing is ahead of you in peace.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.