Second Tuesday of Advent – Waiting by Kimberlee Conway Ireton

This morning’s reflection comes from Kimberlee Conway Ireton.  Kimberlee is a freelance writer, mother of four, and author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year (InterVarsity Press).


I had twins in July.

Five months into this adventure, I am very, very tired. I feel like I am wandering around in a fog; there’s a sort of haze around my brain that makes me feel like it’s wrapped in gauze.

I am waiting—eagerly longing—for the day when the twins sleep through the night. Or, more accurately, for the day when I sleep through the night. I am hoping that a couple weeks of good sleep will remove the gauze from the inside of my skull.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my longing for this future day that I miss the good stuff that’s happening in my life right now. Sometimes I forget to give thanks for the goodness of my life as it is. Sometimes I get frustrated, even angry, that I am so tired. Sometimes I think the tiredness will never end.

Sometimes I get tired of waiting.

Advent is a season of waiting. We are waiting through the darkness of December for Christmas. But Advent has an eschatological dimension as well: we’re not just waiting for Christmas and our various celebrations of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago; we’re also waiting for Jesus to come again.

And let’s face it, sometimes we get tired of waiting. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes we cry with the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?”

Advent honors this place of waiting. Advent invites us to embrace the waiting. Advent reminds us that God is present and active even when we feel like we’re just marking time, or getting through, or barely holding on.

Henri Nouwen calls Advent waiting “active waiting.” He writes, “Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment.”

I confess, I am not good at this sort of active waiting. I’ve spent most of my life thinking life was going to happen later, at some future date when I got to college, say, or got a job or got married or had kids or my kids started sleeping through the night. But my life is right here, right now, fuzzy brain and all.

Yes, I will keep waiting with eager longing for a good night’s sleep. But I also am cognizant of God’s mercies here, now: this gorgeous fall we’ve had, the many meals my church community has provided for us, a moment of silence in a house full of kids (a minor miracle, that!), a phone call from a friend when I thought I was at the end of my rope.

One of the Advent practices that helps me remember to look around and see where God might be in the midst of my waiting is our family’s nightly lighting of the Advent wreath. Each week we light yet another candle, proclaiming as we do, “Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the Light no darkness can overcome.” This progressive lighting of the candles reminds me to pay attention because the Light shines in the darkness, and I don’t want to miss it.

This Advent, as I wait through the darkness of December (and of sleep-deprivation), I choose to wait actively, to remember that darkness is not the end of the story. The Light is coming into the world. Jesus is drawing near.

As I wait for the Light to fully and finally come—for Jesus to fully and finally come—I will lift up my head, bowed as it is with weariness and worry, and look around and notice the places and ways that Light is even now breaking through the darkness.

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.  (Isaiah 40:31)

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.



5 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed this article. Thank you for sharing it. Very real and I can relate to this.

  2. […] To read the rest of today’s post, click here. […]

  3. […] Second Tuesday of Advent: Waiting by Kimberlee Conway Ireton […]

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