Finding Value in Waiting
by Lauren Sterling
Growing up, my brother, sister, and I would sit at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning waiting for my parents to give the signal. As they got in position with their cameras in the living room, the three of us were like horses at the starting gate, barely able to contain our excitement to run downstairs and see what gifts awaited us.
When they finally called “come on down,” we took off. As the oldest, I should have held back to let my younger siblings go first, but, as home video evidence shows, I definitely did not. One particularly incriminating video has me completely taking out my toddler brother on the way down. (Insert facepalm emoji here.)
It can be REALLY hard to wait.
And yet, this is what the season of Advent calls us to do.
To wait. To sit with the hope of things to come. To yearn for promises not yet fulfilled.
In our modern world, waiting is almost always seen as a negative. The other day my husband, Eric, told me we had earned a free pizza at Domino’s because our curbside pick-up order wasn’t brought out to the car in under two minutes. Two minutes? Seriously?
Because our culture doesn’t value waiting, we don’t always get a lot of practice. It’s not a skill that we hone. Even though I tell my kids “you need to be patient”, “you need to wait,” I will admit that I’m often not very good at waiting either… at long stoplights, for packages that haven’t arrived in the promised one-day shipping, for my kids to put on their shoes, for special events and vacations. It can be really hard to wait.
But as difficult as it can be, waiting has tremendous value for us. It can bring deeper fulfillment and meaning to our experiences as we have time to think, reflect, and prepare.
Traveling is my number one favorite thing to do. With three young children and the pandemic, it had been a long time since I had gone anywhere. For a milestone birthday this year, a friend and I planned an overseas trip. We booked the plane tickets in March….and then proceeded to wait six months before we finally took the trip. I wanted to get on the plane the minute we bought our tickets. But the time we had to wait allowed me to research, plan our itinerary, arrange for grandparent help for Eric, prepare freezer meals, and get really excited. The anticipation and preparation made the trip even more meaningful than if we had jetted off right away.
This year as we look forward to the excitement of Christmas, let us not miss the value in this season of waiting. Of anticipating and preparing our hearts for the coming joy of Immanuel, God with us.
Looking for previous entries?
Find our ’22 Advent devotional archive online. haymarketchurch.org/advent