1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 And now here we are,
standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is a well-built city;
its seamless walls cannot be breached.
4 All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—
make their pilgrimage here.
They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord,
as the law requires of Israel.
5 Here stand the thrones where judgment is given,
the thrones of the dynasty of David.
6 Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.
7 O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls
and prosperity in your palaces.
8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say,
“May you have peace.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
This Sunday we start the season of Advent. The thing that really strikes me this year is this idea of waiting. Yes, Advent is a season of preparation – preparing our hearts for the coming of the newborn King. But it is a season of waiting. Waiting certainly isn’t something that we are used to doing in our American culture. I sit here on a Saturday morning typing thinking about the last 36 hours. People couldn’t wait to get out and shop and get the best deals for Christmas. We have been experiencing this Christmas creep for years.
I like this idea of waiting. It’s tough to do in a culture that expects everything right away. I work where we pride ourselves on delivering good food, fast. It is tough to create boundaries in such a culture.
Tomorrow morning my sermon will touch on two aspects of Advent – both the waiting and the watching. I read somewhere this week that we need to pull back a little – we are so used to going full on at everything – if we don’t pull back – if we don’t fast (I mean that in a greater sense than just eating) – if we don’t step back, it makes it so much harder to enjoy the extravagance of Christmas. One of the things that we have done intentionally at Parkway is to pull many of the decorations and wall hangings out of the sanctuary. The sanctuary isn’t quite as festive as it normally is. Next week, we’ll start adding some of the decorations back in. That way we get much more a sense of the difference.
My prayer for you this week is to step back from it all. Is everything so important that it has to be done just this minute? There is joy in the waiting – there is hope in the waiting. After all we have been waiting for Jesus’ return for some 2000 years now. That is one of the things that Advent is all about – waiting for the coming King. Are you ready to wait?