by Michael Schutt


To wait is a crucial practice of the Advent season. Consider the beautiful asymmetry of the Advent wreath: the fourth candle still stands tall this week, untouched, its pristine waxed wick in sharp contrast to the black tips of the other three candles. Why not light it now? Why let the first candle burn so low, while the others stand taller in odd stair-step? Wait. There will be a time—soon—to light the last candle.

Consider the Advent calendar: what candy or trinket is hidden behind the door marked December 20 . . . or 22 or 23? Wait. The surprise remains hidden until that day.


To wait is a crucial practice of the Christian life. Consider the beautiful paradox of our lives: Christ has come, yet He will come again. His kingdom is already, but not yet. We may suffer, but joy comes in the morning.

Long ago, Isaiah encouraged God’s people who waited for coming Messiah:

It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)

We are already “glad” and we can fully “rejoice in the salvation” that God’s people so eagerly anticipated in Isaiah’s time. Yet we joyfully mirror that waiting in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. He has come, yet we seek to experience it again in some way, so we prepare our hearts and our homes in anticipation of that celebration.

Even more, however, we continue, as God’s people, to “wait for him, that he might save us” in His ultimate return and final judgment. The unlit candle, the hidden chocolate, and the wrapped gift are meager—if joy-filled—shadows of our longing and our waiting. Yet Christ will indeed return in His time.

In this season of waiting, let us prepare our hearts and homes for the coming King, who will set all things to right, wipe away ever tear, and redeem all that is His! 

We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Cor. 15:51-52)


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