The season of Advent is one of anticipation and, sometimes, painful waiting. In the liturgical calendar of the Church, Advent is the beginning of the Church year. The first season of our communal calendar experience is one of remembrance of the waiting Israel experienced and the waiting we are presently engaged in. It is a time when we emphasize our desperation for our Savior. It refers both to Christ’s initial coming as the child and our hope in Christ’s eventual second coming. It is a season of hope and anticipation, of preparation and restoration. The Church Calendar tells God’s story, so it is only appropriate that it should begin by remembering the time of waiting.
3 A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Advent is one small intersection with the experience of the people of Israel. We desire to become aware of their waiting and in doing so we become even more aware of our need for a Savior. We anxiously anticipate the day when we will once again be completely united with God in heaven.
In the midst of the waiting, I have also always found Advent to be a powerful time for the remembrance of God’s faithfulness. We serve a powerful God who is faithful in every season. It occurs to me that our lives are somewhat animated by seasons of waiting, but waiting should never be fruitless. When I was a teenager, I could not wait to get my driver’s license. I got my permit at the earliest possible moment and begged my parents to take me driving. Finally the month after my 16th birthday I got my driver’s license, but the time of waiting was not fruitless. In the year that I had my learner’s permit, I had to learn all of the rules of the road and how to operate all of the different complicated systems in the car. I learned how to drive a stick shift and spent hours cruising around country roads with my dad. I had to go through that year of waiting in order to become prepared to be a licensed driver.
God gives us periods of waiting to prepare us for his plans. Sometimes the periods of waiting are heart-breaking. We spend so much of our lives waiting; waiting for a call back from the doctor, for a grade, for the bus, or for a relationship. The waiting can seem endless, but God uses those times of waiting to prepare us for what lies ahead.
The Lord our God who calls us is faithful, and he will do it.- 1 Thessalonians 5:24
In this season of Advent I encourage you in your season of waiting, whatever that may mean for you. God is faithful. Anxiously await his plan and let this time prepare you for lies before you. God’s glory will be revealed in the time to come. Praise God.
Chloe McLaughlin is a senior Christian Worship major and serves as the Chaplain for the Honors College Student Association.
Pictures were taken by Chelsea Schor at the annual Advent Dinner hosted by the John Wesley Honors College and the Honors College Student Association.