In the New Revised Standard Version, Hebrews 9:28 says Christ is coming to save those who are “eagerly” waiting for him. The New International Version just says they are “waiting,” but doesn’t specify in what spirit. The Living Bible says “eagerly and patiently.” No specific adjective appears in the Greek. It is the verb itself that implies the mood of the waiting, and different translators have made choices about what to emphasize.

I can’t think of a time when my experience of waiting could be described with only one adjective. Waiting for something—especially something good—can be done patiently, yes. But much more often when waiting we may find ourselves impatient, not to mention restless, calm, excited, agitated, distracted, watchful, fidgety, thrilled, eager. As a child waiting for Christmas to come, I rolled through all these feelings and more in the course of a few hours. Each week between lighting the next Advent candle seemed to take a lifetime.

As an adult, however, the season of Advent seems to arrive quickly and then just barrels right along. I rarely feel impatient during Advent because I barely have time to feel like I’m waiting. I feel more like I’m holding up both hands and saying, “Slow down! I want to enjoy preparing for the coming of Jesus!”

Awaiting the second arrival of Jesus is not quite the same as preparing for a twenty-first century Christmas holiday. But this 2,000+ year season of waiting is also a time of living in this world, of seeking God in that which happens here and now, and of finding meaning in this anticipation time. The hoped-for coming of a Messiah who will bring salvation to all is something for which we also wait with multiple feelings—joy and hope, of course, but also confusion and grief, distraction and excitement, doubt and trust. May all our heart’s longings find their home in the One who comes.

Come, Lord Jesus, and hold us fast until that day. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 12:38-44

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Lectionary Week
November 1–7, 2021
Scripture Overview

Ruth’s story forms part of the background of the family of Jesus. The son of Ruth and Boaz, Obed, is David’s grandfather. The women of Bethlehem rejoice with Naomi at the birth of her grandson, and the psalmist declares that children are a blessing from God. In the scriptures, children are spoken of only as a blessing, never as a liability (unlike some narratives in our culture). The writer of Hebrews builds upon the eternal nature of Christ’s sacrifice, proclaiming that his death was sufficient once for all. In Mark, Jesus warns his disciples not to be fooled by appearances. Those who put on a big show of piety do not impress God. God wants us instead to give from the heart, even if no one but God sees.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17. Who are the people in your community who lack the basic provisions for a safe and healthy life? How do you try to help meet their needs?
Read Psalm 127. In what ways do you invite God to be part of your work?
Read Hebrews 9:24-28. When have you eagerly waited for something? How did that feel?
Read Mark 12:38-44. How do you practice generosity in the way you allocate your resources and time?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”


Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.