Photo by T.C. "Andy" Andersen
“Love is patient, love is kind…”
I Corinthians 13:4
I chose the word patience because it is the hardest virtue for me to practice, especially during the Advent season. By its very nature, Advent is about waiting patiently for the light to pierce the darkness, for hope to replace despair, for order to conquer chaos.
As a child driven by the magic of this season, the world was so simple, and patience, while hard, was so elementary. How many more sleeps until Christmas morning? Will it snow this year? Have I been good enough to see my wishes come true?
As we mature and begin to experience an infinitely more complicated world, our patience is tested by an unending stream of news that brings us face to face with war, hate, hunger, and violence. When we ask why, the historical, scientific, and sociological explanations don’t seem adequate. We despair when we realize that we will never know the complete answer.
But Advent is a season that changes our focus and reminds us that love requires patience, and patience requires love. We each have a star to patiently follow, and it is often right within our midst. It can guide us to be more patient with our families during this stressful time of the year. It can guide us to call an old friend or neighbor who has been patiently waiting by the phone. It can lead us to drop paper, not silver, into the bucket where the patient volunteer rings his bell. It can help us to be more patient with those who strike out at us and to ask, what in their lives caused this impatience today?
As we patiently walk with the shepherds toward the stable, may we all follow the Light and allow it to illuminate our way.