How often are you left waiting in your day-to-day life? If you’re like me, you might find yourself increasingly impatient when the doctor is running 15 minutes late or even when the Internet page is slow to load. Our interconnected, high-tech culture is one of instant gratification: knowledge on any subject is at our fingertips, people are immediately available to answer our questions, and any object we desire can be on our doorstep in two days. So when we have to wait, we question whether it is worth it, whether that person or thing will ever come at all.
It didn’t used to be this way. As much as I might lament my five year old son’s focus on presents for Christmas, his practice of waiting-- of eagerly asking how many days until Christmas, of waking early each morning to open up a new window on his Advent calendar-- draws me back to some of my own childhood. Advent for children certainly comes with its frustrations, but also teaches the practice of patience infused with hope. Christmas will come. There will be joy at the end of the journey. And all the longing and struggle will be worth it in the end.
In this Advent season, the longings and frustrations of waiting for God’s vision of justice feel particularly pronounced. Almost daily revelations call us to reckon with the insidious sexism and silence that pervade our institutions. More and more immigrant families are threatened with deportation as first DACA and now the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of our neighbors are revoked by the Trump administration. So many in the Life Together community have already taken action and continue to act in response. But in the experience of darkness, of absence, we still ask, “How long, O Lord?”
Yet in our waiting, we know that the light is already coming. Alumna Lydia Strand knows it from the abundant love discovered in her contemplative practice at Life Together. Fellow Meredith Wade notices it in the undervalued work of feeding the community for justice. I know it from the slow, steady work our community is doing to become a space where all fellows feel they belong. So we wait. We pray. We act. We notice where the light is already breaking on the horizon. Because Christmas is indeed on its way.