Advent Waiting

By Freda Kennedy  |  December 6th

Waiting is a very hard thing to do in our culture. We have news, games, family chats, Zoom meetings, entertainment from around the world, all at the click of a button. Remember dial-up internet, when we had to wait a minute or more for each webpage to load? Now we have instant access to everything we ever wanted to know, every question we could ever think to ask. Technology is truly an amazing gift. But I wonder in this instant world if we have lost the ability to patiently wait.

I’m reminded of a story of a Master Carpenter and his apprentice. The apprentice was eager to work on the lathe and the saws, but the Master asked him to sweep the floor. After a bit of sweeping, the apprentice asked the Master if he could learn to work with wood, but the Master said in time but not yet. In frustration, the apprentice swept with angry, jerky movements. Day after day the only thing he was allowed to do was sweep. Day after day, he would ask the Master to learn more. Day after day the Master said not yet. As the days became weeks, the apprentice became resigned to the sweeping and instead of asking the Master for more, he just quietly swept the floor. Feeling the rhythm of the gentle sweeping, he trusted that one day the Master would eventually teach him what he so desired. That day the Master said, “You have finally quieted your soul and learned the art of patience and perseverance. Now you are ready to learn the art of looking and caring about your work. Now I am ready to teach you.”

Advent is a time of waiting; waiting for our Master Carpenter, Jesus. Sometimes we can feel like the apprentice, frustrated and angry, as we see so much hurt and corruption, hunger and disease, war and enmity in our world. And we wonder, where is God? How long, Lord, must we wait? Yet, Jesus did not leave us as orphans. He sent us the most amazing gift, the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit teaches us to sweep our broom in a gentle rhythm, and helps us to learn the art of patience and perseverance through our daily walk of prayer and praise and thankfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ). And even when we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).

Like the bridesmaids who were prepared for the bridegroom’s return by keeping their lanterns filled with oil (Matthew 25:25), so the Holy Spirit helps prepare us for Jesus’ return. As we live in the rhythm of our lives, the rising and setting of the sun, the changing of the yearly seasons, the daily routines of chores and errands, and the conversations and meals with those around us, the rhythm of praise, prayer and thankfulness helps to quiet our souls and trust in our Master Carpenter. And the rhythm of our lives becomes a testimony to others of the hope we have in our faithful Saviour. Not a hope that something might happen, but a hope knowing that our Master Carpenter will do as he promised and return one day for His Bride, the Church.

For over two millennia, the Church has been waiting for Christ’s return. Paul the apostle writes that even the whole creation is groaning as if in childbirth, and we too, who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as children of God (Romans 8:22-23).

So let us not wait with frustration and anger. Rather let us learn to wait by the help of the Holy Spirit, as our forefathers did, with patient perseverance, eagerly anticipating the triumphant return of our King and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Freda Kennedy is a Board Member at Edvance.