Reflection: For my family, the past few weeks have been an exercise in patience, as we await the birth of our third child. As I write, the due-date is 9 days away. As you read, baby will have already been born, anywhere from one month to one week ago, depending on when “things happened.” My wife and I are ready (mostly) for our baby girl to arrive, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Having had the benefit of a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, we are at peace with the knowledge that our little bundle of joy will arrive when she is good and ready.
In this day and age, we like to know when things will happen and how long we’ll have to wait, so that we can make good use of our time as we prepare. Unless there is a scheduled Cesarean section, this isn’t how pregnancy works. We have a general idea of “soon,” and there is urgency that accompanies this knowledge, but we cannot know exactly when our child will arrive. Even after the “signs” have been shown – contractions lasting longer than a minute, less than 5 minutes between contractions, for at least an hour – we don’t really have any way to know at what moment our little one will grace us with her presence.
This is the kind of anticipation that I have when I consider the coming of Christ, the kind of anticipation I imagine the ancient Hebrew people having felt as they awaited the Messiah, the kind of anticipation that we often would rather do without, in this culture of time-efficiency. In this time of anticipating both Christ’s birth and Christ’s return, breathe deeply, and allow the words of James to bring you peace. Good things take time to grow; crops, babies, and God’s kingdom, too.
Let us pray: O God most holy, as we your children look to Christmas morning and the birth of Jesus Emmanuel two millennia past, give us both patience and urgency as we also await his coming again. May we find peace in the knowledge that Christ always comes at exactly the right time. Amen.
Activity: Next time you find yourself waiting impatiently (check-out lines, traffic, restaurants, wherever…), take a moment to pause and reflect on the benefits, rather than the frustrations of waiting. If you see others looking impatient, humbly invite them into this reflection, too, and then, if you are brave enough, invite them to join you at church as you wait for the Lord!
Pastor Luke Kuenzli
St. John Lutheran Church, Mineola