5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
A few years ago, I was walking through the Dollar General with my kids and we heard this really fun Christmas song. The song was "The Twelve Days of Christmas”...but with a twist. It was sung by an all men's acapella group, had some funny lyric changes, and they finished it by incorporating Toto's famous 80's song, "Africa.” It was different but awesome. I wanted it for our family playlist.
In those moments I flashed back to how "back in the day” I would have sat up in my room for an afternoon with my fingers on the "record/play” button of my cassette deck waiting for the song to come on the radio. As each song would begin, I would close my eyes and listen intently to discern if this was the one. Every ounce of my being would be focused on being ready for that moment of recognition when I would quickly press the record button. The afternoon would be one of victorious celebration or bitter disappointment in having to wait for another day and time.
But on that afternoon at the Dollar General, I got out my Shazam app which immediately told me the artist's name and song title. About 10 seconds later I had the song downloaded on my Google Play and Amazon accounts. Not quite the same experience as "back in the day.”
There's a big desire within us that hope, peace, joy, justice, love...even God...were on demand like a streaming song service. But--as it turns out--these are not commodities to be bought, sold, and downloaded at our immediate convenience.
Instead, we have a season like Advent which calls us to heighten our senses and awareness to them. A whole season to build up within us a sense of eagerness, anticipation, and longing for Christ. We set aside to practice the spiritual discipline of waiting. To close our eyes and pray a little harder for the hurts in the world. To strain our ears to listen a little more intently for God's voice over the din. To focus every part of our being, ready to recognize Christ when he comes in ways we wouldn't expect or anticipate. And as we wait--as we pray, listen, and focus--we are preparing ourselves to spring to action. To join in on the ways Christ is transforming the world.
This Advent and Christmas…
Enjoy the Music...
Pray, Watch, and Listen for Hope, Peace, Joy, Justice, and Love...
And...Embrace the Waiting.
Rev. Chad Delaney
Pastor Mantua Center CC and Regional Church Council