Pause for Thought December 2018

“Wait for it…”

We may have just had a special time of looking back, as we remembered the centenary of the end of World War One, but we live in a culture which is becoming increasingly impatient. Surveys show that as things speed up, as apps for smart phones mean that we can reduce waiting for things such as takeaway meals, Taxis, checking in at airports etc, we are more likely to complain about waiting.

The newest generation of adults are people who live ‘in the now’. This makes the idea of delayed gratification and waiting more difficult. The Black-eyed Peas have a song called Generation Now and it contains the lyrics: 

And I just can’t wait,

I want it immediately

Cause time can’t wait then 

I sure can’t wait

I ain’t got no patience no I just can’t wait

Not today

Yet when people go to Disney World, Alton Towers or some other theme park, most of their time will be spent waiting in queues. Maybe our patience depends on what we believe we are waiting for.

The season of Advent is a time of waiting. It begins on Advent Sunday (2nd December) and at Barnack Church there is a special Songs of Praise when the service is given over to people’s requests, especially Advent carols ( and it’s not too late to put in a request).

But there always seems to be a pressure to get Christmas to arrive early. People sing carols from the beginning of Advent and all sorts of Christmas events are held well before Christmas actually arrives.  Some of this has to do with Schools wanting to celebrate Christmas before the holidays begin, but some of it seems to be the abandonment of waiting. “Let’s do it now and then move on to the next thing – the sales on Boxing Day…”.

Advent marks a time of waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus- not just his first coming which Christmas celebrates, but looking forward with hope to his return – “This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.” (Acts 1.11).

The Bible speaks about waiting for the Lord - “Be patient and wait for the LORD to act”. (Psalm 37:7)

I am always involved each year in discussions with people about when the Church Christmas tree should be put up and when we should have our Carol Service (it’s normally after everyone else outside the Church has had theirs). Perhaps we need to rediscover the virtue of waiting. Perhaps we should look at the ‘Marshmallow Test’ which you can search for on Youtube and the like, which seems to show that those children who can wait for things will do better in later life.

Israel had waited for hundreds of years for the promised Saviour to arrive. Why not try to wait just a few weeks longer for the annual celebrations to begin…

Wishing you all a patient Advent and a blessed Christmas when it comes.

Rev Dave Maylor.