This week’s readings are full of expectation, anticipation, and the sighting of buds and blooms of nearness. Appropriate texts for this Sunday in Advent, I think. We’re zeroing in on the figure of the Messiah. Last week we talked about the kind of waiting required of us, that paradoxical “waiting that hastens the Day of the Lord.” This week we look at waiting itself.
We live between God’s acts in the past and what he will do in our future. Psa.126 captures this perfectly. The first three verses celebrate the Lord’s past actions for his people; the last three anticipate his actions in restoring their fortunes.
Isa.61 looks forward to the coming of a Spirit-anointed one who will bring healing and justice. Lk.1, Mary’s famous “Magnificat” looks forward to the great reversal of all things God will enact in favor of the poor, hungry, and lowly. John 1 edges us closer to the realization of all this with its sighting of the “Lamb of God.”
Waiting is not easy. Nor do we do it well. Yet, these words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer remain true:
"Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting—that is, of hopefully doing without—will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment. For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait.”