As a child I remember the excitement of waiting
for Christmas, which couldn’t come soon enough. As an adult, it
seems to rush by in a blink of an eye, and before I know it the day has been
and gone. There is something beautiful about seeing the season
through the eyes of a child: the waiting and longing, excitement and
Advent is about waiting coupled with expectation. It is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ into the world. At the first advent, all of Israel were waiting for the promised Messiah, even though they didn’t know what to look for. Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah, Simeon and Anna, the Magi, were all were waiting for the Messiah, clinging to prophecies or angelic visitations. They were expectant.
We live in an age of the instant: instant food, instant communication, instant deliveries. But often the best things in life can’t be rushed. Good food, good wine, the birth of a baby, a beautiful tree. There’s a reason and a purpose to the waiting.
At Third Space Ministries we have needed to develop our patience in waiting. Most of our work is about sowing seeds, journeying with people through the ups and downs of life, watching and waiting as the light begins to dawn upon them as to who Jesus is and can be for them. Our work takes time, patience, and lots of love. It is a ministry of presence. This can be frustrating in our results driven, quick fix culture. We rarely see fruit instantly, but we know that we are being faithful to what God has called us to. In the midst of the unknowns we get many glorious moments of seeing lives transformed. And we are reminded that the wait is worth it.
One lady in the world of fitness where we serve, said how much she appreciated the faithful non-judgemental listening over months and years as she explored a variety of spiritual routes before finding faith in Jesus.
Our Illuminate Soho ministry amongst dancers in strip clubs emerged out of 18 months of prayer walking, watching and waiting before we saw doors open to us.
And there are various aspects of our ministry where we are still waiting. But we believe that when we wait on God our waiting is not in vain. We have a God who comes to give meaning, comfort and companionship in our waiting. In that waiting time, we get to grow and change, if we allow God in. Our relationship with God develops a greater intimacy because of what we are learning in our waiting time.
I like the way the Message version of Romans 8:24-26 describes waiting:
“Waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting
diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course,
don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become,
and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get
tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.”
As our waiting for Christmas is nearly over, take comfort in the fact that we worship a God who comes. He came to us in Jesus. He comes to us now as we wait and is present in all our circumstances. Where you are waiting, He will come again. May you know ‘joyful expectancy’, in your waiting this Christmas time.