Advent 3 is a pretty evil time for the RCL to assign James 5 and a call to patience. It is as if they’ve never had a seven year-old waiting for Santa in their homes. By the time the ides of December are upon us, I think every parent in Christendom feels like the late, great, Grumpy Cat.
And yet, as we enter upon the busiest fortnight of the year for both church and secular society, laity and the ordained, the call to patience is probably a really good bit of advice. There is a tendency to rush, rush, rush, this time of year. We can get so caught up in what’s next – dance recitals, Christmas parties, angel tree gifts, family dinners, school projects, shopping, pageant rehearsals, and other special events, that there is no time left to be present to the moment, let alone, to simply sit and wait.
This was the theme in our staff meeting today. As the daylight continues to grow shorter, it feels like the days themselves are coming faster and faster. The threat of becoming a slave to our to-do lists is very real. Yet, the word we get from James this week is to wait. To rest. To be patient. Sure the farmer toils. From sunrise to sunset, the farmer toils to make sure the yield in her field is as fruitful as possible, but ultimately, it is a waiting game. The harvest won’t be ready until the harvest is ready.
Jesus won’t be born again on Christmas until December 25th. No amount of slavishness to our own expectations will bring Christmas any sooner. Perhaps the threat of deforestation from our bulletin production will bring about the second-coming a little faster, but I doubt that highly as well. Even as work to provide our families, friends, and congregations a very special Christmas, it is important that we make space for patient waiting. Did you hear that, me? I’ll say it again, Advent as a season of preparation is a season of patient waiting for the first and second advents of Christ. Take some time, rest in the Lord, enjoy the twinkling of the lights, and wait with patient and hopeful expectation.