How someone waits tells you a lot about the person.
How you wait tells you a lot about yourself.
Watch the waiting –
Do we try to rush the waiting?
Try to argue why our wait should be shortened?
Try to skip steps?
Take matters into our own hands?
In who or what do we put our hope during the waiting?
What do we use for distraction during waiting?
What does our waiting reveal about our self control, resilience and character?

How you wait tells me a lot about you.
It says a lot about where you place your true hope.

I love that we have a season called Advent.
Advent means coming. Advent is about waiting for something important that is coming.
Waiting.
I like that we actually have a season that is about waiting.
I find it accurately describes how most of my life feels – waiting for progress, waiting for a fresh season, waiting for goals to be reached, waiting for vacation, waiting for morning…
I bet there is something in your life you are waiting for right now…waiting to come, waiting to change, longing to be different. What are you waiting for?

While I greatly enjoy days of celebration, advent more accurately describes how I experience most of life. We live in the waiting, in the in-between, Jesus has come and we wait for Him to come again. Jesus has already come, breaking heaven into earth and we wait for His return when He’ll set all things right.

Advent invites me, invites us, to embrace the waiting.
Embrace the waiting.
This is so counter cultural.
This is so counter to how I usually live my life.

The gravitational pull is towards hurry, towards consumerism, towards satisfying my every need and feeling immediately.  Yes, this is the pull in church culture too.

The Jesus way is to embrace the waiting, with hope. The Jesus way is to choose the slow way, of trusting God who is bringing His Kingdom to earth now.
The Jesus way is to fight against the gravitational pull of hurry and consumerism.

This advent, I want to choose:

  • People over stuff
  • Rest over rush
  • Quality time over hurry
  • Simplicity over clutter
  • Experiences over the disposable
  • Time with people over another checkmark on my to-do list
  • Delight in God over my personal satisfaction
  • God’s dreams over my temporary happiness
  • To wait with hope

Reverse Advent Calendars:

People all over are finding ways to embrace this season of waiting by doing various “Reverse Advent Calendars.” Here are a few ideas you could do as an individual, family or small group as you countdown to Christmas. Just choose one!

  • Food Hamper – Each day leading up to Christmas put a food or hygiene item into a basket. Afterwards, donate the whole basket to a local food bank or shelter.
  • Art Blessing – Each day leading up to Christmas create a piece of art (whatever your skills – card, craft, painting, baking, cooking, drawing…) and give each piece away to someone.
  • Neighbouring Challenge – Try these daily challenges to open up your senses to God’s work around you, as you countdown to Christmas http://cbacyf.ca/1month
  • Thanks Jar – Decorate a jar as a “Thanks jar” and each day leading up to Christmas write a note to put in the jar stating something from the day you are specifically thankful for.
  • Advent Wreath – Make an advent wreath for your home. An advent wreath has four candles around the circle, representing hope, love, joy and peace and a centre candle called the Christ candle. Each week as you light a different candle ask “Where did we spot hope this week?”, “Where can we give away hope this week (be specific about something you can do)?”; then “Where did we spot love this week?”, “Where can we give away love this week (be specific)?” and so on, for each of the candles. You can find lots of instructions on google on how to make an advent wreath for your home.
  • Nature Nativity – using a nativity set, gather 24 pebbles to make a path from the shepherds and wise men to the manger. Each day remove a pebble and move the shepherds and wise men closer to Jesus. Take time each day to reflect on a different aspect of waiting and the Christmas story. You can see more about this idea here: https://exploreandexpress-sheila.blogspot.ca/2012/12/advent-nature-table.html
  • Jesse Tree – is hanging a different ornament on a tree leading up to Christmas. Each ornament invites you to reflect on a different aspect of God, as you wait. Here is one sample of how to do a Jesse tree http://www.shalfleet.net/advent/makeajessetree.htm
  • Hopeful Gifts for Change – Prepare to give gifts that help show God’s hope to others. Click here to go to CBMs Hopeful Gifts for Change
  • Quality Time – We used to do this as kids. This advent give someone homemade coupons for doing their favourite activities with you over the holidays. Make these times together special!
  • Declutter – Each day take at least one item out of your house and donate it to someone else, as you countdown to Christmas. Clean out your closets, clean out your kitchen, clean out your basement – and give good quality second hand items away to charity. 

Readings
If you are looking for readings to go with any of these advent activities here is one for:

KIDS - Free Jesus Story Book Advent Calendar - Click Here
And
ADULTS - Canadian Baptist Advent Reader 2016 - Click Here

Happy waiting.
May you learn to wait with hope, whatever you are waiting for.
May you wait with hope knowing Jesus has come and will come again!

-Renée
@r_embree
@cbacyf
#1neighbourhood