We find ourselves, this week we celebrate Thanksgiving and anticipate Advent, waiting. It is indeed the waiting season.
Waiting for what? Well, that depends on who we are. Some wait for healing. Others for loved ones to come from distant places. For a war to end, a vaccine to be developed and distributed. Grief to diminish somewhat. Perhaps you know someone who is waiting for the proverbial ship to come in. Waiting.
There is a sense in which waiting is a form of prayer. If you’ve ever spent much time in a hospital, accompanying a loved one or friend in surgery or ICU, you know what I mean. Where do you spend such time? In a waiting room, of course.
Our lives just may be defined by how we wait.
Barbara Brown Taylor says she is willing to thank God for her life even before she knows how it’s going to turn out. “This is brave talk, I know,” she says, “while I can still pay the bills, walk without assistance, and talk someone into going to the movies with me. My hope is that if I can practice saying thank you now, when I still approve of most of what is happening to me, then perhaps that practice will have become habit by the time I do not like much of anything that is happening to me. The plan is to replace approval with gratitude.”
Waiting and gratitude go together, even when what is happening to you doesn’t necessarily meet with your approval. You can hardly do one without the other, or at least one gives meaning to the other in ways that only God can create. It is my hope that you and I – that each of us – can find ourselves waiting with gratitude this season, even if it doesn’t meet with our approval. For of such is the kingdom of heaven.