This Sunday, my message is entitled, "Waiting for Christ at Christmas." It's going to be fun looking at the subject of waiting.
I would submit to you that no one, I mean no one, like to wait. And waiting is difficult for us, particularly at this time of the year. You go to the supermarket and the lines are longer than normal, and you have to wait. You go to the mall and the stores are filled and you have to wait.
Then there is Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve depending upon your tradition) where the kids are waiting for their gifts. Yet it is not just kids that are impatient, how many adults sneak over in the days before Christmas, pick up their gift and shake it a little bit?
I am not a patient person. I guess I have come to terms with that and am comfortable enough with myself to say that.
I don't like to wait.
Have you ever felt that a driver was really slow in pulling out of a parking space for which you were waiting? It turns out your imagination may not be playing tricks on you. A recent study of 400 drivers in a shopping mall found that drivers took longer to pull out of a space if someone was waiting than if nobody was waiting there to claim the space.
On average, if nobody was waiting for the space, drivers took 32.2 seconds to pull out of a spot after opening a car door. If someone was waiting, drivers took about 39 seconds. And woe to the person who honks to hurry a driver: drivers took 43 seconds to pull out of a space when the waiting driver honked!
I like the true story (told by Paul Harvey) of a woman in Hershey, Pennsylvania who had been patiently waiting for a parking space to open up (she was driving a Mercedes). The shopping mall was crowded.
The woman in the Mercedes zigzagged between rows - then up ahead she saw a man with a load of packages heading for his car.
She drove up, parked behind him and waited while he opened his trunk and loaded it with packages.
Finally, he got into his car and backed out of the parking space.
But before the woman in the Mercedes could drive into the parking space, a young man in a shiny new Corvette zipped past and around her and he pulled into the empty space, got out and started walking away.
"Hey!" shouted the woman in the Mercedes, "I've been waiting for that parking place!"
The young man replied, "Sorry, lady; that's how it is when you're young and quick."
At that instant she put her Mercedes in gear, floor-boarded it, crashed into and crushed the right rear fender and corner panel of the flashy new Corvette.
Now the young guy is dumping up and down shouting, "You can't do that!"
The lady in the Mercedes said, "That's how it is when you are old and rich!"
Here is what I know: "Waiting is not just the thing we have to do until we get what we hope for. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what we hope for."
God is doing something in us while we wait!
As a church family, we are waiting on our building to be finished.
We are now waiting on a new youth pastor.
But just as important as seeing the end result of moving out to 183rd street and bringing on a new pastoral staff member is what God wants to do in us while we wait.
Let's use this time to grow!
Let's use this time to draw closer to God!
And let me tell you - as we grow - it will be worth the wait.