Every Wednesday during the Advent-Christmas season, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own journey through Advent.
ìMake your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.î (James 5:8)
In the second reading this Sunday from the Letter of James (James 5:7-10) we are advised to be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord.
But patience, though it is a virtue, is also a hard sell in a society like ours that places such value on instant gratification.
Our lives are filled with microwave ovens, instant messages, movies on-demand and a million other little enhancements that fuel our hunger for immediate results.
It seems the more time we save with these gee-whiz wonders of contemporary life, the less time we are willing to invest in the kind of patient waiting that the Advent season calls us to.
Benito, a sponsored child from Nicaragua
It might be good for those of us who struggle with patience to ask ourselves just what purpose our impatience serves.
What do we gain from the five minutes we save at the drive-up window? How are our lives richer because we can text and shop at the same time?
Do these abilities enhance the moments of our lives or simply fill them? And, if we are in a hurry, what is it we are hurrying to?
When CFCA sponsors visit the communities where sponsored friends live, they often receive a surprise bonus ñ a valuable lesson in time non-management.
Sponsor visits are causes for celebration in these towns and villages, and the people prepare joyous receptions complete with parades, music and food. But, travel being what it is in developing countries, our sponsor groups are sometimes hours late in arriving.
In the U.S., such delays would likely be cause for anxiety, but in the CFCA world they only increase the joyful anticipation. Where we might be worried about getting off schedule, the people in these communities accept delays as an unexpected gift.
The longer it takes for some gifts to arrive, the more deeply we appreciate them. Ask a pregnant mother who longs to see her babyís face, or the father of a soldier serving overseas.
They know lessons about anticipation that only time and love can teach. They are not always easy lessons, but they are life-changing ones.
As we continue our journey toward Christmas, may we be people of patience. May we wait for Jesus with joyful anticipation, always open to the unplanned lesson, always ready for the unexpected gift.
- Read the first Advent reflection: Discover Christ in your daily life
- Read the second Advent reflection: Dare to dream of a better world
- Read the fourth Advent reflection: Embrace the humanity that led to our salvation
- Read the fifth Advent reflection:†Share the good news of holy families
- Read the sixth Advent reflection: Modern pilgrims find a star worth following