Maybe we wait for that package to finally arrive in the mail.
We wait for the line at the grocery store to finally move because the person in front of us is paying in coupons and pennies.
We wait for the bus, for the appetizers to arrive, for the other shoe to drop.
I think that in most cases, we have a pretty good grip on what we are waiting for. I knew that my mom was sending me a new shirt so when the mail came yesterday and I opened it up, I wasn’t at all surprised to see a new shirt.
Sometimes we wait for something totally out of our control and we know it. We know something is coming down the road but we haven’t the slightest clue what it is going to be.
And then there are times when we are certain about the future. We know with absolutely surety what is going to happen for us or to us. And yet, when it finally gets here, it is the most unexpected thing we could have imagined.
The Israelites in the time of Isaiah fell into this category. They waited for something they were absolutely certain of… A king that would come and drive away those evil nations that threatened them. A savior that would sit on David’s throne and rule their country. A messiah that would physically and militarily right all the wrongs that had beset them for so many years.
A child would come and grow into a man who would free them from tyranny and oppression. He would be a wise, mighty, eternal prince.
And they waited for it.
And they waited.
The years rolled by. The oppressors changed names. Rulers came and went. And still nothing. What must that have been like? Hundreds and hundreds of years waiting for something of which they were sure was supposed to happen.
I get a little agitated when Starbucks doesn’t get my coffee to me in the first 2 minutes after placing my order.
But then they day came that the Messiah did come. That which they waited for, centuries long, had finally arrived.
But it wasn’t at all what they expected. It wasn’t what they had ever imagined. The Savior of the nation of Israel didn’t come riding a huge horse, sword in hand, slaying the Roman tyrants and restoring the power and wealth of Israel.
A carpenter’s son. Born amongst the animals. In a backwoods little town that wasn’t special in any way.
Even those who believed in him, who felt that all their waiting and anticipation had been justified, in the end, didn’t have much of a grasp on the situation.
And yet this Messiah who wouldn’t take up a sword against violent oppressors, who wouldn’t march his army into Jerusalem and set up some new monarchy, set about freeing people in the most unexpected of ways.
And he would free everybody.
That’s the thing about that first Advent, it wasn’t at all what everyone thought it was going to be. It was something so much more amazing that it couldn’t have even been imagined.
We would think that we, as we await the last Advent, could learn from those who came before us. From those who sat waiting for the first Advent. It’s not a bad thing to wait for something. In fact, it is one of the best of things. But we should remember that was the unexpectedness of what occurred that made it so magnificent, so powerful.
As we wait in anticipation of Christ’s return, of the last Advent, let us not lose sight of the lessons we have been taught.
We have been promised the return of the wise, mighty and eternal prince but I imagine that return will be as unexpected as the first. And in that, it will be something awesome.
It is this start of the Church of the calendar that brings back to remembrance not just what we wait for but also why we wait.
We wait to show ourselves as good and faithful servants for whenever the master returns be it the middle of the day or the dark of the night.