A reading from Psalm 130:5-6
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning."
Waiting can drive a person crazy. Standing in that long line for those concert tickets. Watching the mailbox for that letter of acceptance. Listening for the phone call that will deliver those CAT scan results. The heart beats fast; the body twitches, restless. The urge to lose all self-control overwhelms. Then deep breathing begins. Awareness within each moment heightens and focus sharpens. The air becomes electric with longing and hope in the space between now and then.
This was the experience of the night watchmen on Jerusalem's walls. They were sentries standing guard in the darkness, all heightened awareness and sharpened focus. Imagine the longing and hope with which they waited for the morning light to appear. Even more, writes the psalmist, is his wait for the Lord, and he doubles the phrase for emphasis: "My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning, more than the watchmen wait for the morning."
As a season of waiting, Advent invites us to this level of focus on and awareness of Christ now, even as we long and hope for his promised coming then. It is practiced patience, which guards us against losing our minds. In other words, writes Fr. Henri Nouwen, "Waiting patiently means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God's glorious coming."
Submitted by Ann Primus Berends