SAUCIER — What are you waiting for?


Advent. From the Latin adventus, meaning coming or arrival.

What is coming? Christmas. Incarnation. Emmanuel, the dwelling of God with us.

What is coming? The Parousia, the return of Christ to reclaim a world in which humanity has reached the end of this divine experiment.

And what is the Advent message? Wait and watch. Be vigilant, alert, aware. “No one knows the hour or the day.”

But we know the exact day, Dec. 25, the destination of the Advent trek. And what we celebrate then already occurred 2,000 years ago. What is to wait and watch for there?

There’s no ETA on the Second Coming. From early despondent disciples through centuries of augurs of annihilation, to the millennialist prophets of doom, every generation had its oracles of end-times. 

But it hasn’t happened yet, and hopefully won’t for a while. I’m partial to this world and would like it to last.

And even Jesus admitted he was not advised of the schedule.

So here we are in the in-between times, living between what has already occurred in history and what will someday be the end of history.

What does the Advent echo of waiting and watching mean for us?

Maybe the waiting is not for something coming, but rather the patience, the slowing-down enough to catch what is already here.

Maybe the watching is not an eye on the horizon, a sentinel of our own mortality or that of the world.

Maybe our own lives are meant to be the object of this Advent waiting and watching.

Of course, like everything under the sun, this is not new. Back in the fourth century B.C., Aristotle took a hard look at what constitutes a good or flourishing society. He identified three lives critical for that.

There is the life of productivity and knowledge.

There is the life of leisure, play and entertainment.

The third is a life of reflection or contemplation.

It seems that most of us do well in our lives of productivity. We are, for the most part, avid doers.

God knows we have enough entertainment, though much of it might be more distraction than true leisure.

But reflection? That comes with a cost. It takes time. It demands honesty. It can be uncomfortable. 

Maybe that’s why we need a season to encourage us.

So, sit before the fire. Stare at those lights. Sip that mulled cider. 

Don’t worry about what you will ponder. That will come.

Just wait and watch.