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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Wait for it ...

Advent's waiting lessons

Our family failed at Advent last year. I know, because I just unpacked the Christmas decorations and found the four candles from our Advent wreath. One candle is an inch shorter than the others. That must have been the one for the first week of Advent. Another candle is half an inch shorter. That must have been the one for the second week of Advent. And then the two remaining candles — the signs that we let Advent down. We never even lit them.

This year we will try again. During the first week of Advent we will be amazed at how good we look in candlelight. During the second week, we will be dutiful in our devotion. After that? I'm wondering if our family suffers from Advent Attention Deficit Disorder. Probably not. Probably we're just like you. We let Advent wane too early because we resist the idea of waiting.

Advent waiting faces a mighty competitor Not consciously, of course. We love the Advent readings at church, the prophecies about Emmanuel. But Advent waiting faces a mighty competitor called December. During December we visit with friends and relatives we haven't seen for months. We dig in cupboards for cookie sheets and half-used jars of red and green sprinkles. We keep up with neighbors by getting out the ladder and lights. We shop, wrap, stamp and sing. How could we wait? Christmas would run us over.

It's really no wonder we throw ourselves into these activities. Compared to waiting, overdoing it is easy.


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