At the closing of the Lord’s Prayer, the priest adds the following,
“Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ!”
In some form or other, this addition at the end of the Lord’s Prayer dates back to the first centuries. It is without a doubt a beautiful message and the image of “waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ” is especially fitting for the Advent Season.
Many of us do not particularly like waiting. There are the small waits, such as the check-out line at the grocery store, or a visit to the dentist. There are the medium waits which might be the selling of a home or that hoped for acceptance to college. Then, there are the immense waits…for cancer-free remissions or the inevitable death of a loved one. The joyful “waits” are a no-brainer. We wait with great delight for the birth of a child, a wedding celebration or a much-anticipated vacation. Our very lives are filled each day with some form of waiting.
The Advent message is one of great hope, anticipation and comfort as we once more celebrate our greatest gift, Jesus Christ, who God sent to live among us. God sent us a Savior and a promise of what is to come when Christ comes again. Then He sent the Holy Spirit to make a home in each human heart to remind us of who we belong to. Such gifts are too priceless to measure!
Many people of good will do their best to love God and neighbor, understanding that the kingdom of God is not just after life on this earth, but that Christ is in our midst at all times, in all ways, in all people. There are those who now wait, abandoned and often neglected, and sometimes we do not see them as clearly as we could or should.
For the multitudes who go unnoticed, when Christ comes again, the wait will be over.
▪ The forgotten will be remembered.
▪ The homeless will have a forever home.
▪ The hungry will be fed.
▪ The despairing will find joy.
▪ The discarded, disregarded and disabled will be welcomed, included and strengthened.
For all those who felt inadequate on earth, for all those who went unknown in the world, Christ will recognize them as His own and they will be worthy in heaven. No more waiting…no more pain.
How close will you let Christ come to you this Advent? We need only look to our Advent stories to understand. Jesus became like us so we could become like him. Christ’s first home was in the womb of a young girl. You can’t get much more intimate or closer to another human being. Mary’s invitation is meant for each one of us. Jesus speaks to our waiting hearts, “If you let me, I’ll move in.”Are we an “Inn” complete with all the comfortable amenities, filled up with so much contentment that there is “no room at the Inn” for Christ? Or, are we a “stable”— humble, open, unlocked and accessible, ready to welcome Christ into our hearts and lives?
May we all be blessed with an unpretentious, unoccupied heart to welcome Jesus in this Advent season and in all the seasons of our lives. After all, “good things come to those who wait.”