Luanne Austin Mugshot

Advent.

A time of waiting.

Like Mary, waiting for the birth of her child, we wait for Christmas.

You can’t hurry a pregnancy. Who wants a premature birth?

Tacky blow-up reindeer and snowmen litter the city’s lawns. Hyper-happy seasonal music jabs at “consumers” to spend. Christmas trees lit up in home windows signal the impatience for the festivities.

How about we sit by the fire, writing out Christmas cards by hand? Sending each person a few thoughtful lines. Each year, I determine to do this, but… .

How about we mindfully slow-buy gifts at downtown shops and holiday craft shows? Instead of click, click, click. Of this, I too, am guilty.

How about we meditate on things that take time? Things like:

  • making wine
  • growing a plant from seeds
  • driving to California
  • hiking to a peak
  • training for a race
  • losing weight
  • sewing curtains
  • mending from illness
  • recovering from addiction
  • making a hard decision
  • enduring a difficult situation
  • reading “Moby Dick”
  • rising bread dough
  • drying sheets outdoors
  • healing from memories
  • reconciling a relationship
  • writing a letter
  • learning to play piano
  • realizing a dream
  • fixing a fault
  • forgiving a betrayal

These are things that you cannot hurry.

Lately, the words “I am” keep coming to mind.

Like in the book of Exodus, when Moses asked what God’s name was, the response came: “I am.”

Later, in the book of John, when soldiers were looking for Jesus, Jesus responded, “I am.”

And so I wonder if remaining in the present moment — rather than rushing ahead to some future event — brings us that much nearer to divine presence.

Of course, the birth of Christ epitomizes the presence of God in the world, God’s willingness to be with us, dwell among us.

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, represents the time we wait, like pregnancy, for the baby to be born. In the meantime, we prepare. While we wait, we do things.

If we have the means and the room, we move a crib, dresser and changing table into the nursery. We get diapers, pajamas and receiving blankets for the baby.

Of course, the waiting is a symbol of hope. After all, this child is supposed to save the world.

What are you waiting for?

I am waiting for this whole pandemic business and the politics around it to go away.

I am waiting for people to realize that we all have our different lenses through which we see the world around us, and that’s OK.

I am waiting for us all to learn that we cannot love our neighbors well until we love and accept ourselves.

Ha! On a personal level, I am waiting to retire. Counting down the days. The hours, by golly.

In the meantime, there are things to do right now. A faithfulness, if you will, to today.

“I can’t wait.” Yes we can and we must.

As we await redemption — whatever that means for each of us — let every heart prepare the room.

Luanne Austin lives in Mount Sidney.

Contact her at RuralPen@aol.com,

facebook.com/ruralpen or care of the DN-R.

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