Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, and we’re still four full weeks away from Christmas day, so waiting seems like an appropriate topic for today. But we are not waiting for a break from school and work, a few special gifts under a tree, or even a special visit from loved ones. Advent trains our hearts to wait expectantly for the fulfillment of God’s certain promises, and Henry Nouwen’s writing for today is one of the most insightful descriptions of faithful waiting you will find. Read it today, then save it to re-read many times in the future.
- Psalm 130:5-8
- Watch for the Light, pp. 27-37
- Nouwen says that waiting is difficult for us because we are often fearful people, “afraid of inner feelings, afraid of other people, and also afraid of the future” (28). What fears do you recognize in yourself – today or in your past – that cause you to have a hard time waiting for the Lord to work out his promises in your life?
- Just as Mary and Elizabeth coming together helped them to wait with greater joy and expectation, how have other Christians helped you live and wait faithfully as a follower of Christ? Which individuals have been a specific help or encouragement to you to persevere in faith when you were discouraged?
- Think of brothers or sisters in Christ who you know to be discouraged or struggling to hold onto joy as we wait? Who can you encourage to wait patiently in faith, reminding them that the Lord is always good and his promises are certain?
- Re-read the paragraph at the bottom of page 36 and top of 37 that begins, “Our waiting is always shaped by alertness to the word.” Will you commit to “wait together” with your church family this Advent season, so that we may all find strength and grow in joy while we wait for our King to return?
Confess to the Lord any fears that you realize may be making it difficult to wait with joy and contentment wherever you are today. Ask him to help you be more attentive to his word and to the believers around you this Advent season, so that you may grow in your ability to wait more patiently, joyfully, and actively.