God is teaching us the difference between worldly waiting and faith-filled waiting.
My patient was recently diagnosed with a pulmonary condition that could eventually be life-threatening. After the initial diagnosis, she had to wait a month to see a specialist and get her many questions answered.
Then there were numerous tests scheduled to determine the cause, severity, and subsequently, the treatment.
Between each test, there was a waiting period before she received the results. She had to admit that those waiting periods were harder to go through than the medical tests! All in all, it took four months from diagnosis to beginning treatment.
During this time, she had several projects to complete, and one project in particular turned out to be quite a blessing. She had agreed to coordinate an Advent gift program for children. As she prayed for inspiration, images of the very first Christmas and the faith-filled people of that time kept resonating with her.
She was inspired by their trust in God’s promise of a Savior. They and their ancestors had lived in hope. Theirs was a faith-filled waiting. Their faith assured them that God’s promise was heartfelt and certain.
Even when they doubted, God sent them people whose trust in God could bear fruit: the prophets, John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph.
They trusted. They waited. They followed God’s will. They lived in hope for all of us. And their waiting bore fruit for all of us.
This insight of faith-filled waiting changed her perspective on her situation. She could see how those four months of waiting were a holy time given to her to accept her illness, educate herself about it, and share her anxiety and hope with others in her life.
Most importantly, it gave her time to pray for a deeper faith and trust in God’s will. God was teaching her, through the example of her spiritual ancestors, how to wait, not in our way, but in a faith-filled way.
And just as the faith-filled waiting of the people of that first Christmas bore fruit, her lesson in faithful waiting also bore fruit. Waiting and hoping in faith has brought her to a deeper trust in God and God’s will for her. It has freed her to accept her journey and to pray that it will bear fruit.
Waiting in a worldly way can bring anxiety and fear. Faith-filled waiting bears the fruits of patience and peace.
May our waiting bring us closer to God. And may we continue to be blessed with faith-filled waiting throughout the new year.
You are invited to join me personally in church or in your slippers at home as our parish plans to celebrate a “Blue Christmas Service of Healing and Hope” on Thursday, Dec. 24th at 4:30 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in North Java.
This year our theme will be “Comfort, comfort my people, says God.”
There are many moments in our lives when we need comfort. There are tough times when we yearn for consolation. The suffering people who looked for the long-awaited Messiah were given a hope-filled image of God in the writings of Isaiah.
It expresses the belief that no matter what happens to us, God will be there to comfort and support us. Christmas can be a time for many when we need that reassurance and comfort.
Perhaps we are grieving over the loss of a loved one, struggling with illness, or have experienced the loss of a job. We wonder how we will get through the holidays.
We are inviting all the nurses and volunteers from Charlotte Comfort Home and family members whose loved ones have died. This is our way of providing comfort, hope, and renewal joined by our parishioners and online Zoom friends for a time of quiet reflection and meaningful words and music.
Click on your computer and/or phone on Dec. 24 at 4:30 p.m. by following the instructions detailed below: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82215377220
To help things run more smoothly, please begin to log in or dial in approximately 15 minutes prior to the start time. You can also listen to the Mass on your phone by dialing 1 (929) 205-6099. The meeting ID: 822 1537 7220.
Take good care of yourself and one another.
Kawiak is pastor of Holy Family Parish Polish National Catholic Church in North Java.