|"Patience" by Melanie Weidner|
This painting is based on a quote from the Tao Te Ching: "Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself?"
Part of the discipline - and frankly, part of the wonder - of Advent is the patience to which it calls us. This is a season of taking time and space to reflect upon all of our longings and to grow in faith through the practice of waiting. We count down days until Christmas, yes, but the whole Christian life is a life of Advent. We spend our lifetimes awaiting the day when Christ will come again, and with him, the new heavens and new earth that have been promised to us by God.
Yesterday, thanks to a friend, I read a poignant blog post entitled, "Eating Batter." In it, the author says,
We live in a society dominated by instant gratification. Some attempts at the instant are trivial: instant soup, coffee, oatmeal–even Mac’n'Cheese. There’s instant messaging, text messages, twitter and cell phones to help us instantly get in touch. There are unfortunate expressions of our desire for instant gratification: abundant pornography, excessive debt and various addictions to name a few.I would encourage you to follow the above link and read the whole post, and then take the time to consider what life would look like if we shifted our values from "instant" to "eternal." The author likens the difference between these values to the difference between eating cake batter and waiting the requisite time to eat the (better!) cake.
In a society of instant gratification, advent is a time that we embrace the awkward (anyone ever notice how awkwardly awkward is spelled?), choose the silence and worry–worry that things won’t come out right, that we’ve screwed something up. Advent is a time to worry. It is a time to wait. It is a time that is meant to make people worry–especially the powers that be! It is also a time to hope–a time to look forward to what might be. It is a time to build up expectations and make room for something new. Advent isn’t about instant. It’s about waiting.
If we fill our days eating the cake batter of this world, then we are apt to spend lives filled but not fulfilled, satiated but not nourished. This is the challenge to us, my friends, both in Advent and in the wider advent of our lives: to willingly live in a state of longing for the food that does not perish, the food that is for eternal life.