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2020 has been a year of waiting: The terrible waiting for friends or family members to get test results from COVID-19 tests, waiting for loved ones to recover when they did get sick, waiting for a dramatic election, and then waiting for the results of that election.

We are tired of waiting. We have COVID fatigue. What do we need with Advent? How can a religious tradition of waiting be a blessing in this grim year of waiting, waiting, waiting?…

As I wrote the date today, I had a little thrill with the realization that 2020 is almost over! Only one more month to go. Only one more month of this crazy, terrible year. This morning on the news there was the report that the UK has authorized the first vaccine for COVID-19 and the US is not far behind. Someday in the foreseeable future we could worship together in the same room, we could take off our masks, we could sing, we could shake hands, maybe even hug and kiss! We could enjoy visits with our grandkids or go out to a restaurant with friends. But not yet. We are still waiting.

Waiting. Waiting to be with family. Waiting to be with friends again. Waiting for signs of hope. This year, we are intimately familiar with waiting. We are weary with waiting. The last thing we need is to be told again how to wait. And yet, what else can we do but wait? Eventually, we come to realize that this waiting is a part of life that will always be with us.

We wait hopefully for vaccines and the end of the pandemic. We wait for an end to divisions in our country. We wait for solutions to racial injustice. We wait for answers to climate change. We wait to see Christ, to see the beauty of creation, to feel the love of God.

We pray to God to allow us to wait with purpose, to use us to bring hope, to use us to make a difference, to use us as Christ’s hands and heart for this broken, suffering, waiting world. We pray that on earth as in heaven, all might be welcome, all might be fed, and all might be loved. We pray. And we wait.

Waiting well is a virtue. Waiting with hope gives us strength. Waiting together, in community, gives us endurance.

I am profoundly grateful to be waiting with you.With love,