As we come closer to the feast of Christmas the pace quickens. We’ll get caught up in the famous Christmas rush, only so many shopping days til Christmas. Remember the song, ”Slow down you’re going too fast, you’ve got to make the moment last.” All this Christmas rush brings out the worst in us. We get upset by the slowness of the service at the checkout counters. “What’s the hold up, why is that cashier so slow?” Why is that red traffic light taking so long to turn green? Why is this line so long? Why is this bus so slow?
We want instant service in the stores, instant gratification in our relationships, instant answers to the ‘whys’ of our lives. We want instant healing from an illness, instant answers to our prayers, instant faith to our doubts. We try to be patient with ourselves as we struggle with our faults and failing, try to be patient with the dullness of our prayer life. The list goes on and on.
Advent can be a season that teaches ‘patience’. The Jewish people wait patiently for that fullness of time when the Messiah is to come. Mary patiently spent nine months waiting for the birth of her promised son. Jesus lived patiently working in Nazareth waiting til it was time to begin his Father’s work. He patiently endured the dullness of his disciples as they struggled to understand his parables.
In our second reading James encourages the people to be patient for the coming of the Lord. It took a while for all the Apostles to realize that the second coming of Jesus was not as immanent as the thought and hoped. No one knows the day nor the hour. James puts before us the example of the patient farmer who trusted his seeds to the earth. He waits patiently as the warm, wet soil slowly brakes down the seed’s hard crust and lets the life force within begins to sprout and grow, first the stock, then the head and then the full grain in the head fit for the harvest. The farmer knows he can’t rush the process. He waits patiently for things to take their course.
What do we want? PATIENCE?! When do we want it? NOW!
Lots of luck.