As life goes on, the liturgical cycles seem to become more and more meaningful. Perhaps after you’ve done enough living you come to understand that every life waits, suffers, comes to new life and rejoices in the ordinary. Advent is especially meaningful because it teaches us to wait without complacency, to wait without compliance.
There is so much to wait for now in life: human development, love, peace in the church and in the world. And most of us do not wait well for what we want or what we are meant to be. We get impatient or we get depressed. We question or we doubt. We argue or we get alienated.
And now, we all wait, not for the coming of Christ—God took care of that—but for the coming of the Gospel, which we are delaying in the name of God.
Waiting is a call to conscience. Waiting leads us to compare what is probable with what is possible—unless we ourselves do something about it. Waiting engages all of us in the struggle, for or against, until there can be no disinterested bystanders, no free rides, no unconscious commitment to the unconscionable.
While we wait we can learn and grow and become stronger than ever in our convictions. We can be conscientious and creative. And no matter who wants to suppress us or to silence us, we can be signs of hope that never, ever go away until, someday, the star finally shines.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in us a wonder at the wisdom and power of Your Father and ours. Receive our prayer as part of our service of the Lord who enlists us in God’s own work for justice.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in us a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in our homes, peace in ourselves.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in us a joy responsive to the Father’s joy. Help us to seek His will so we can serve with gladness, singing and love.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in us the joy and love and peace it is right to bring to the manger of our Lord. Raise in us, also, sober reverence for the God who acted there, hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and spirited resolution to serve the Father and Son.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose advent we hail. Amen