Waiting, rushing in the holiday season

Andy Inskeep
Colville Nazarene Church pastor

As the holiday season begins, we quickly find our lives saturated with many things – Christmas parties, buying gifts, and the normal routines of life. 
Even in retirement, you may find yourself busier than before–engaged in volunteering, hobbies, family responsibilities and helping others around you.
The solution our culture offers us for the busyness of life is convenience. In theory, convenience will give us more time to do the things we really want to do. 
Amazon will quickly ship us whatever we need – from gifts to groceries and more. Credit cards give us the opportunity to purchase now and pay later. 
If we are looking for an answer, we just simply type the question into a search engine. 
If we are bored, there are so many ways to entertain or distract ourselves from the present reality – TV and the nightly news, the resurgent Seahawks, Gonzaga basketball, Netflix, the movie theater, social media, games, novels, and on and on! 
Convenience comes with a price, and during this time of business often only leaves us more drained and worn out.
Many churches celebrate a different type of tradition four Sundays before Christmas every year. It is called Advent. You may be familiar with the concept and begin to think about Advent wreaths and Advent calendars. You may even believe Advent and Christmas are the same thing. 
The word “advent” comes from Latin and means “coming.” It is a time of preparing to celebrate Jesus’s first coming that we honor on Christmas – as well as Jesus’s second coming. 
A key theme to understanding an Advent season is the idea of waiting. The people of God had been waiting for an Anointed One to come, and even though we think there is no need to wait anymore when media is available to be streamed, orders can arrive the next day, and communication can be almost instantaneous through text messaging, perhaps waiting can still form us today. 
Waiting can help us be more appreciative when something comes to fruition. Waiting can help us become more dependent on God. Waiting can help us be more present in the moment instead of simply distracting ourselves with many of other things. 
Often ,instead of engaging in the hard circumstances of the present, we consume or occupy our thoughts and behavior with things that distract us. We may want something this instant and question God why it isn’t happening. The process often reveals other hidden issues that also take work and healing.
While we may have wanted the quick fix, the slower process can lead to a more thorough healing. Waiting gives us deeper answers. Waiting reminds us that immediate response is not always the best response.  
Even in seasons of life where we are not as busy as we used to be, we begin to think of this time as meaningless. God may be redeeming the moments of today. The waiting of God may be to shape who we are and prepare us for something else.  
I invite you to an attitude of waiting this season. Instead of being consumed with distraction, busyness and meaninglessness, seek how God can be using the present moment and season in your life.  Instead of simply surviving the season, may God use these times to form you.
— Andy Inskeep is the Pastor of Colville Nazarene Church and can be reached at keepinskeep@hotmail.com.