“I can’t wait.” Words that have been spoken by many, if not all, people at some point in their lives. I think it is a fairly natural thing for us to dislike waiting. We dislike having to wait for good things and in some scenarios, we don’t like waiting for bad things either. So, why do we wait? What beauty is there in having to wait?
Think of an expectant mother. She waits nine months (give or take a few days) before she celebrates the birth of her child. In those nine months, a mother typically cannot wait for the arrival of her child. Yet, those nine months are essential for the child to grow and be ready for birth. Secondarily, those nine months are important for parents to prepare themselves by making plans and learning what they can in how to care for their child. In a less significant example, think of a cake. The ingredients in a cake would not be delicious by themselves or without being baked. But if you are patient and give time for the ingredients to be mixed and the batter to be baked, you will be able to enjoy a delicious, fluffy cake.
The Catholic Church celebrates waiting. In the spiritual life, it seems that a season of waiting is also seen as a possibility for a season of growth as well. Right now, we are in such a season, the season of Advent. What are we waiting for? Jesus Christ. Why is it important that we wait for Him? Because we are preparing a place for Him.
The season of Advent is not meant to be a season where we sit on our hands and wait. It is not meant to be a season of chaos and distractions either. Rather, it is a season comparable to a mother waiting for her child. We know something so good is about to come. We already have such a deep love in our hearts for the Child. And because of that love, we want to offer Him a place so beautiful to reside in when He arrives.
Picture the Holy Family as they arrived in Bethlehem and could not find a place to stay. The inns were busy. They were already full. The inns were not prepared for the Holy Family to reside in them. Are you prepared? Have you used this season of waiting to empty yourself of things that are unnecessary or distractions that clutter your mind and heart?
This is what the season of waiting is intended for. It is a season in which we can take a step back and realize where it is that we need to make a place for our Lord. What parts of our lives have been closed off to Him? Is He at the center of everything or is He pushed off to the side? Do we make room for Him or just squeeze Him in?
As we ask ourselves all these questions, it is important to remember something very central. Jesus is Emmanuel, “Christ with us.” Jesus is ready to enter your life. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:20). Christ is also waiting. He waits as we prepare our hearts for Him. He waits as we make space for Him. He waits at the doors of our hearts. As St. Maria Goretti says,
“He loves, He hopes, He waits. Our Lord prefers to wait Himself for the sinner for years rather than keep us waiting an instant.”