It never ceases to bring a smile to my face when I pull up to my home and Vera, my cat, is in her sentinel stance looking out the window for my arrival. Her posture may change depending on if the blinds are up or if they are pulled low, but there is always enough space for her little face to peer out in watchfulness. Even if I’m gone for a short time, and she has a full belly, it’s a very rare occasion when she is not actively waiting for my return. I realized the other day that I have started looking for her in the window, as I’m driving up. I started to ponder what her watchfulness can teach me about advent.
Waiting does not sound active, but the degree of attentiveness when one is waiting can make it a participatory activity. When one’s eyes, ears, mind, and body are tuned to the pending arrival, it is, indeed, active. When we are using our senses fully, our saturated spirit can’t help but explode in joy when we finally behold the person. For the arriving person, seeing valuable time was spent in eager and active anticipation stirs up the bond of kinship. For me, if traffic is bad or I’m feeling cranky, when I see Vera waiting for me, all that melts away. There is definitely joy in the arrival, but what about in the waiting?
Actions are choices and when we choose to actively wait, the precious time spent is an investment in the relationship we have with the expected person. In a way, we borrow the anticipated joy of seeing the person as we wait, which helps us stay focused for the arrival. After all, if the arrival is something we are dreading, we would probably find 101 tasks to occupy our time in distraction. Active waiting also requires us to be ready, otherwise our time would be spent on the tasks that have to be completed prior to the arrival.
We can always practice waiting for Jesus in every Mass we attend. Each Mass is like a little Christmas, since Jesus becomes present as the bread and wine are consecrated into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. Do we wait with eager anticipation, listening attentively to the Liturgy of the Word and keeping our eyes focused on the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist? Do we welcome Jesus the moment we receive His Precious Body and Blood? Are we filled with joy as we share prayer time after we receive Him?
Perhaps as we see the rose-color candle lit in the advent wreath this weekend at Mass, it can remind us to practice active waiting and rejoice that Jesus is coming soon.