Advent is a season of waiting. It is a time of spiritual preparation in which we look forward to Christmastide. It is a time in which we mediate on Salvation History and take a long, hard gaze in our past, seeing how God the Father prepares us for the coming of the Son.
We look at our first parents were guaranteed a savior. We look at Abraham and Jacob, men who were promised God’s presence in a singular way. We look towards Judah, the father of a tribe who would sprout the Son of God. We look to Moses, the bringer of the New Covenant. We look to David, of which Jesus’ Royal Dignity comes forth. We look to Isaiah, the coronet of the great title, “Emmanuel”. We look to Joseph of Nazareth, the just, quiet man. And of course, we look to the daughter of Ann, Mary, the lowly handmaid.
Further, we are called to wait in a particular way. We don’t wait as if we are in Safeway, or at the bank. It’s not as if we are waiting to pay our bill at the restaurant. We don’t wait as though we were at AT&T Park, going to the restroom between innings. No—we wait as though…we’re going to see a movie. A really good one.
I remember when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out to the theatres. I was in Arizona at the time, serving at All Saints Catholic Newman Center. It was known that I was a fan of Harry Potter and all things related. (Little did they know how much a fan I was and am, but that’s for another post.) When some of my students found out, they invited me to a midnight showing. And there we were, at eleven o’clock in the evening on a Friday night, with about 400 other people, waiting for the gates to open so that we can trample inside and see the summer’s greatest film. (Okay, that year, it wasn’t the greatest greatest, but you get the point.) And some of my fellow movie go-ers were dressed up. Of course. I distinctly remember seeing two generic wizards, three Dumbledores, a flock of Gryffindors, four house elves, two Death Eaters and a slew of random Hogwartians waiting for the show to start.
At half past eleven, we were allowed into our theatre. Once we settled into our seats—high and center, thank you very much—the noisy electricity revved throughout the room. Someone got a beach ball and it bounced back and forth. Others started singing songs from the Potter fandom. Still others screamed the beginnings of quotations from the fifth book, expecting others to finish the line—which we loyally and joyously did.
Then finally. Finally. Finally. The lights began to darken, the curtains rolled out…and all hushed in a frenetic, reverential joy.
This, my friends, is Advent waiting. This is the waiting that Advent brings. Knowing that the Lord will come because he always fulfills his promises. The waiting in which we don’t know exactly what kind of wondrous, delicious, delirious idea God has come up with, knowing that we will love it. Knowing that God will give us something needed yet unexpected. Advent waiting.
…and so we wait…