Rejoice! It’s the third Sunday of Advent. We light the rose candle this week because this Sunday we celebrate the joy of our Lord drawing near. This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent.
O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
In this prayer, we ask God to allow us to attain the joys of salvation and that we would celebrate these joys with worship and rejoicing. The plea that God would enable us to attain and celebrate should be our reminder that it’s not about us. Without Him we cannot attain, or reach, nor can we celebrate.
Come to think of it, this is the Christian life. We tend to think that we need to be good enough, we need to do more, or that we need to clean ourselves up good enough to earn salvation. However, in this prayer, when we ask God to enable us, we’re asking Him to be the surety for, to the be the one responsible for us to attain and celebrate.
For all that we ask God to do for us, the greater responsibility falls on us. We have one job. We wait.
We live in a time where waiting has fallen out of fashion. We have a world-full of knowledge in the palm of our hand, a fax is no longer fast enough, and our groceries can be waiting for us when we pull up the store. Who has time to wait?
This prayer reminds us that there is holiness in waiting and waiting creates desire. St. Augustine wrote, “The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.”
For example, a few years ago, my husband and I booked a trip to Italy. The time we spent waiting for and planning our trip made the expectation and excitement grow. You remember that line in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom come”? It is about waiting, too. We know His Kingdom will come, but when we pray for it, our desire for his kingdom grows.
Last week, I made a trial run of consciously waiting at mass. I came to find that the joy, the worship, and the rejoicing, does indeed, come in the waiting.
From the moment of walking into the church, I told myself that I was waiting to receive Jesus. This is why I came, this is what I want, but I had to wait. As the time grew closer, as the priest prayed the Eucharist Prayer, the excitement grew, and I knew that I would soon receive what I was waiting for.
I believe that this is the same waiting that Jesus wants to see in us, not just during Advent, but every day. We know our Lord will come and it is our waiting for Him that fills us with joy until that day that He arrives.
What if this season finds you waiting, but not in a joyful circumstance? There may be a loved one on hospice, or perhaps someone is waiting for a diagnosis. There is joy to be found there, as well. Remember that God created time, he is outside of it. That appointment later today? God is already there. The meeting tomorrow? God is already there. He not only greets you at the door, he walked in with you.
Joy is in the waiting, and it is also in the one we wait for.
Thanks for praying with me,