I love Advent. The busyness of shopping… The quiet dark nights… The pre-Christmas gatherings with friends… The white lights on houses and Christmas trees in town squares or malls... I love the readings from Isaiah, which promise peace and justice. And, I love that Advent and Easter are times you hear the stories of strong women in the Gospels – Mary, the mother of Jesus; Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin; and Mary Magdalene, who witnessed the resurrection. I love the flow of readings from the celebration of Christ the King, the end of the Liturgical Year; to Thanksgiving; to the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new year.
This year, however, is an anomaly. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is not the first Sunday of Advent, which means I have to wait for the time of waiting.
Those of you who know me know I hate waiting. If I’m driving, I want to get there now – not be slowed down by traffic. If I have a question, I want the answer now, which, thanks to Google, is usually possible. If I’m in a meeting, I want to come to resolutions now, not keep postponing agenda items ad nauseum. I’ve been told, “Patience is a virtue.” Well, it’s not one I received!
Discernment, however, is about waiting – waiting in grace. I waited to enter until it felt right. I waited for acceptance in each new phase. I waited to know if this is the right place and way to live out my vocation. (Half the time wishing it wasn’t so I could get on with my life!) I’m now waiting to find out what the three weeks over Christmas break will entail. Patience is a virtue I’m slowly growing into -- patience with myself, with others and with God. God is funny that way… If I don’t learn something quickly, God keeps on giving me opportunities to learn. So, I’m waiting, somewhat patiently, for Advent, the season of waiting.