There are at least two ways to say “What are you waiting for?” depending on how you emphasize the syllables. The most common way to say it is to emphasize the syllable “wait” – the resulting expression is intended to impel someone to act, to stop standing around and do something.
But if you emphasize the “are,” the expression has an entirely different meaning. “What are you waiting for?” Expressed this way, the expression is one of expectation. It infers the waiting, and prompts us to think about for what, exactly, we wait.
This question is going to frame my Advent season. What exactly are we expecting to happen? If Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas, for what are we preparing, exactly? What hopes do we have this season?
Am I hoping that nobody sets the Advent wreath on fire this year? Am I hoping that all of the strands of lights in the sanctuary actually light up? Am I hoping that the remodeling project gets done on time and under budget? Am I hoping that all of our Advent activities come off smoothly?
Or am I hoping that a righteous Branch will spring up for David that will execute justice and righteousness in the land? (Jeremiah 33:15) Or am I hoping for a refiner’s fire to purify our offerings in righteousness? (Malachi 3:3) Or am I hoping for the boots of the tramping warriors and the garments rolled in blood to be burned by the coming Prince of Peace? (Isaiah 9:5)
What are we waiting for? What does the birth of Christ truly mean? The season of Advent is the gift God has given us to reflect on these questions.
The days are surely coming …
Don’t rush the miracle …