Sunday, December 05, 2004

more waiting...

Two of my favorite characters in the Christmas story are the senior citizens Simeon and Anna. I imagine many people of their day dismissed them as dull, boring and past usefulness. I probably wouldn’t have given them a second look myself.

But God saw past their unremarkable exteriors into their hearts. He was aware of Simeon’s tenacious faith and Anna’s single-hearted devotion. Though these two waited long and without fanfare – probably not even sure themselves of exactly what they were waiting for – they never lost their heavenly focus. Thus when it came time for God to tell someone His secret, He knew just who would listen.

When I was a kid, Christmas took forever to come. I now await it a lot less impatiently. But still I feel a general impatience, a restlessness, a sense there is more to come. I wait - no longer for Christmas but – for what? Like Simeon and Anna, I’m not exactly sure. But I think it is summed up in the Second Scripture Lesson for the second Advent Sunday (Matthew 24: 29-51).

42"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. 45"Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.

The question I ask myself is, how can I wait well? For Simeon and Anna, waiting well was not letting themselves get distracted by the world and its values. For the servant in the story, it meant serving food on time, i.e. carrying on in the mundane job he’d been given. Being a wise waiter for me, is probably no more earth shaking. God probably doesn’t expect me to go trotting off to some foreign field or even quitting my job to volunteer at the church. But He does expect me to keep faithfully fulfilling my seemingly insignificant responsibilities where I am right now, even if my dependability is appreciated by only One.

My goal then, as I wait, is to carry on and "be God’s handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that I may do those good works which God predestined, planned beforehand for me, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time – living the good life which He pre-arranged and made ready for me to live" (paraphrase of Ephesians 2:10 - Amplified).

When my wait is over I hope to meet Him as Simeon and Anna did. And I hope I will be commended like the servant was, and given the faithful-servant promotion: "I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions." (Matthew 24:47)


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