Advent is the season of waiting; we wait in anticipation of the coming of Christ. But are we the only ones doing the waiting?

I (Francine) was hurrying to get out the door for 7 a.m. Mass. I looked at the time on the car clock and sighed in defeat: 6:58. There was no way I’d make it in time.

Just then, I noticed the song playing on the radio: Mumford and Sons, “I will wait”. It was like a personal message from Jesus. “I’m coming, Jesus!” I announced and pressed my foot to the floor.

I sailed through the intersections without pause and raced up the hill. The final chorus was playing like it was stuck on repeat – “I will wait, I will wait for you”.

Pulling into the monastery carpark, the song gave way to the beeps heralding the 7 a.m. news bulletin. A quick dash and I was in my pew savouring the private favour of God warping time for me.

He Waits for Us

If there is one thing that strikes us when we enter a Catholic church, it is the patient waiting of Jesus. He literally waits in the tabernacle for us.

He waits for years sometimes. He waits even if we never show up. Like a love-struck suitor, He makes His proposal, and waits for our response… hopeful but never demanding.

The Season of Advent, which runs for four Sundays ahead of Christmas day, is a reminder not just of our spiritual longing, but of God’s yearning for us. From the beginning of time, God anticipated the moment of His entry into human experience to become one of us and one with us.

Waiting Sanctifies Us

There’s lots of waiting in marriage and family life: we wait for love and marriage to find us; we wait for a baby to arrive; we wait for the holidays to begin, then long for school to return; we wait for a spouse to get home or to ‘get over’ some challenge… (still waiting!).

There can be great suffering in our waiting. When longed-for dreams don’t eventuate, conception never happens, or our spouse fails to change as desired, heartache is prolonged.

We glued-to-our-smartphone moderns are not so good at waiting. We see it as an affront to our dignity, a challenge to our self-proclaimed importance. But a certain measure of waiting is unavoidable and even desirable.

Waiting teaches us humility and patience – essential virtues for healthy relationships. It opens a space for reflecting, allowing us to stop ‘doing’ and to simply be aware… of ourselves, our world, the person before us, our God.

In marriage and family life, the willingness to wait (and without resentment!) is a generous act of love. It invites us to adopt a divine lens to see past our frustration and encounter the other as a subject of God’s eternal yearning.

Holy Pauses

This Advent, join us and start a new holiness habit. Instead of resenting the wait periods in your day, consciously enter into them. Resist the temptation to reach for the phone, but rather pay attention to the details of the moment.

Tune in to your senses to notice the sounds and smells, the textures and colours, the precious gifts of that moment. Breathe deeply. and see, really see, the one you wait for as God sees them in all their goodness.

God patiently waits for us. We, too, can find God there in these waiting spaces, and when we do, say “hello” and thank Him for waiting for us.


Originally published at SmartLoving. Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev.

About the Author: Byron and Francine Pirola

Married for 25 years, with 5 children, Byron & Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving Series – marriage enrichment and marriage preparation courses designed to help build successful and resilient marriages. International speakers and authors of numerous articles on marriage, more than 3000 couples have attended their programs, workshops and conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain Byron & Francine are Executive Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre from which they run SmartLoving programs and produce digital resources. Francine graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Religion and Religious Education. Byron is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm, Port Jackson Partners Limited, and a Director of both listed and unlisted companies. He holds a PhD from the Commonwealth Centre for Gene Technology, Adelaide University.

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