Waiting in line can be one of two experiences. See if you identify with the examples below:
You’re standing in line at the post office or the grocery store, waiting for your turn. You’re tapping your foot and keep looking at your watch. You don’t want to be in this line. Before long, you begin to think, “Oh, I can’t wait for this to be over!” Often times, the other people in line with you feel the same way! No one speaks to anyone else. Clearly few are enjoying the experience; the impatience or irritability you feel might even be visible on your face. Such an experience of waiting in line can seem isolating, almost lonely.
Now think about the times when you waited in line at an amusement park, to buy tickets to see your favorite baseball team, or to hear your favorite band. In these instances, the waiting is much different. People are excited and you might even be talking to some of them about the ride you’re getting ready to experience, the sports team that you love, or the band you’re about to hear.
This second example is the kind of waiting we are called to in Advent.
At Mass, after praying the Lord’s Prayer, we hear “. . . as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” This prayer reminds us that during Advent, we wait in joy, in hope, and in anticipation for the wonderful event we are about to experience—the feast of Christmas, the coming of Christ into our lives in new ways, the return of Christ in glory at the end of time. As the Church, we wait during Advent and look forward to celebrating the fact that God loves us so much that he sent his Son into the world to save us. This waiting is far from empty; rather, it is full of the hope that God promises us as we prepare for Christ in the feast of Christmas.
During Advent, we eagerly anticipate the coming of Christ. However, we are not waiting for Jesus to be born—that event occurred over two thousand years ago. While we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus that has occurred, we also use the season of Advent to anticipate The Second Coming. When Jesus comes again, the Kingdom of God will appear in its fullness. The just will reign with Christ forever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe will be transformed.