Resembling the Father this Advent



Something I do not always do well, is wait. At my age, I’ve had lots of practice, so you’d think I’d be better at it … but alas I am not. Waiting is something we all must do. The other day my grandson repeated a line I have often heard from his mother and from my own lips “I can’t wait…” I replied to him “What else are you going to do?” Waiting for things that are out of our control is an inevitable eventuality and our impatience brings it no closer.

The season of Advent reminds me of the important place waiting has in our life of faith and I propose that, how we wait (and wait we must), demonstrates our very resemblance to God. If Christlikeness is our goal, then waiting in anticipation is a skill we should hone.

In saying this I have the Parable of the Lost Son in mind. While the son wanders in prodigality the Father (the God figure) waits! I picture him gazing toward the horizon each day, patiently waiting, eagerly anticipating the return of his erring son. As we read the parable, we may be in suspense about the willful son’s homecoming, but the Father faithfully and hopefully awaits his return. When the boy does come home, he finds the house ready for him, and a party is quickly put together, probably according to a well thought out plan.

We wait not for a capricious errant child but for a faithful promised King. Our waiting is not laden with the risk that the Father takes in waiting for his wandering children. The outcome is not in doubt and so the comparison between the ‘waiting’ of the Father and ours pales drastically.

I can imitate my Father by faithfully waiting, scanning the horizon in eager expectation all the while preparing for the return of the King. Such waiting is spiritually anticipatory and practically pro-active. So many of the other parables illustrate the active waiting of good stewards who upon the return of their master are commended. Such servants are “found faithful” upon his return. The servant not ‘found faithful’ has given up hope for the master’s return and has given over to living solely for this day rather than for ‘that day’. This deceived attitude is too readily my default and so the reminder of Advent, to wait well, to wait actively, is so very necessary for me. I believe I am not alone in this.

I am seldom more like my Heavenly Father than when I am involved in just such a holy wait. Care to join me?

This latest project, Threshold House, tests my waiting skills. I am used to having a project where I can put my shoulder to the wheel and bring to a result in a relatively short time frame. This one is an 18-month project and so much relies on others rather than me. While some of the outside work on the physical plant ‘Threshold House’ is imminent, I remain in an information and promotional phase. We will only progress as we have funds and other support and it is this base that must grow. All the while we have an end result in mind and we keep actively pursuing the Kingdom in the here and now, as best we can. It is a time of active waiting. Care to join me?