Did you know that the average person spends…
· 6 months of his or her life waiting in line?
· 2 weeks waiting at red lights?
· 43 days on hold with automated customer service?
· 9 minutes per day downloading computer programs?
· 20 minutes a day on the toilet (if you reach 80 years of age, that is over 13 months of your life!)?
Think about all the time we wait at the doctor’s office (21.3 minutes per visit), at the airport, in traffic (15 minutes daily average), for our spouse to get ready to leave the house (shhh!), for the shower to be the right temperature before we step in, the coffee to brew, . . .
All in all, a person spends an estimated 45 to 62 minutes waiting . . . every day. If you live to be 70, that figures to at least 3 years of waiting in a lifetime. (Disclaimer: These google “facts” vary according to age, gender, occupation, where one lives, etc.)
Waiting is hard, especially in a microwave-Instagram-DoorDash world.
And Covid has only added to our challenge.
We are waiting for places and institutions to open once again. Schools. Bowling alleys. Restaurants. Sporting venues. (Thank God the gyms are open, at least for now!)
We are waiting for the next report. Another resurgence? Spiking? New hot spots? More business closings? Market projections. The next daily death count.
We are waiting for the next decree. More shutdowns? Bans? Restrictions? Additional protocols?
When is it all going to end? We are just waiting for the day when we can gather again uninhibited. In our homes. At our places of worship. The grocery store. The mall. Without fear. Social distancing. Masks. Twenty applications of hand sanitizer every day.
Christmas is also a time of waiting.
With Christ’s first coming 2,000 years ago, God’s rule on earth was launched. Heaven came down to earth. Perfectly and wonderfully in the person of Christ. God’s glorious future was made available here and now.
Yet only partially.
The kingdom of this world has yet to fully become the kingdom of our Lord. We have yet to see the wolf living with the lamb, swords beaten into plowshares, water gushing forth in the wilderness, the lame leaping like deer, . . . when all will be made right and shalom will reign.
Until that time, we wait.
Christmas reminds us that God is determined to reconcile all creation to himself and will bar no expense to realize that end. Christmas is also guarantee that just as he came once, he will come again and finish what he started.
The older I get, the more important I believe eschatology is—one’s understanding of the future. How you and I live today is determined by the tomorrow we envision. St. Peter writes in his second book: “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (3:11-12).
“Looking forward” and living godly lives go hand-in-hand.
And so, we wait. Patiently. Prayerfully. And expectantly.
The future looks bright!
Anything but “normal.”