Have you ever wanted something so much you felt like you couldn't wait any longer? Maybe as a child you begged and begged for a toy, but you had to wait for it until Christmas. Maybe you had to wait years—or are still waiting—for a baby to grace your family. Maybe it's the dream vacation that's always a few thousand dollars away. Waiting is hard.
Advent is a season of waiting. There are chocolate Advent calendars for the kids to count down the days until Jesus' birthday, and purple candles representing repentance and preparation for the rest of us. There's also that special pink candle that represents joy. It's a symbol that says, "You're almost there. Celebrate! The best part is coming soon." But what if the best part of waiting is also already here and we are missing the daily blessings?
We all say things like, "I can't wait until the weekend," "Just wait until your child starts walking" and "I need to meet up with my friend soon."
These innocent statements can represent lost opportunities to enjoy the here and now.
Days off are nice, but any day offers opportunities to inspire others. The smile you give to a coworker who seems distracted, a step out of your comfort zone to help a stranger, or simply being still and really listening to someone else's problems can work wonders for them and you.
We all anticipate our child's milestones, but just holding him or her and being present can be a great moment in itself. The walking, running and tearing up your living room will come soon enough!
Sending a note or picking up a phone to quickly connect with a friend can make your day as well as theirs. It's a very present way to ensure your relationships are nurtured and can still grow while you're making plans for the future.
People in the 93 countries you serve through CRS have taught us a key to waiting. They frequently stress being and relationships over doing and accomplishments. Often, they have few choices in their lives, but they remain alive in the moment. That's a good strategy for waiting. You never know what joy it may hold.
Advent is a time of reflection and renewal. We are getting our hearts ready and willing to welcome Jesus. Advent is also one of the busiest times of the year. There are Christmas concerts and tree lightings, family dinners and gift-wrapping sessions. Remember to enjoy the "coming soon" in the here and now. Waiting and preparation are part of our Advent journey. And Christmas is worth the wait.
CRS wishes you and your family a peaceful and fruitful Advent season on the way to a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for being a gift to millions of people of many faiths all year long.