The Art of Waiting

Advent Wreath _Closeup

Is what children (and big people) really like about Christmas the presents?

Or could it be that the waiting itself is what is so delicious?

Advent—to give waiting its technical name– is about opening up to the world with wide and attentive eyes. (Something children get instinctively)

Eyes which drink in the twinkling lights in the darkness and note with curiosity the big tree coming inside and still holding winter’s cold between its branches. Eyes which widen with delight—savoring the expectation of gifts wrapped up pretty packages.

Now lets be clear. This is not about telling impatient children that they aren’t really excited about the presents but rather the sweet baby Jesus. That’s just confusing.

Rather it is a more subtle lesson—that the waiting is somehow the finding.

That through our attention daily life is slowly being transformed, hallowed even.

Relying on our quiet and watchful eyes we come to realize that mystery is everywhere.

And that all experiences potentially reveal something luminous– waiting just beyond the curtains of routine and distraction.

Advent starts this Sunday, December 2.

Which means this week is an interesting time, a few days to prepare for a season of preparation….

One way to get ready is to gather the fixings for a home-crafted Advent wreath (You can find detailed directions + Green Advent Guides here.)

How might you cultivate open and receptive eyes this Advent?

** I am indebted to Chistopher Hill’s Holidays and Holy Nights: Celebrating Twelve Seasonal Festivals of the Christian Year (2003) for inspiring this reflection. 

One thought on “The Art of Waiting”

  1. Beautiful writing. Yes, there is joy in the waiting, and that waiting makes us more attentive to life in the moment. A much needed perspective in our hurried modern era. And yet, I can’t help but feel something is missing here…what is it we are waiting for? There is something very real…not just vague mystery. It’s a whole new way of being. A new kingdom. A new way of loving that does not come from us but from another. In our receiving of it or rather this one who shows us how to be truly human, our love can turn from its darker and self-absorbed forms into the humble, freely given, unconditional, generous variety. There is real power in the gift more precious than all other gifts. It is not material but oh so much better…and yes, our children need to know about it, need our help to keep it all in right perspective. Maybe it is confusing in the midst of the glittery traditions but let’s not forget there is something, or rather someone, very real who we are waiting for.

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