We often consider advent as a countdown to Christmas. Children light candles on the Advent wreath each Sunday, marking how our celebration of the arrival of the light of the world draws near. Parents purchase Advent calendars for their homes that serve as timers for the children, showing them just how many "sleeps" there are until Christmas. Advent is also a time of waiting and preparing for Jesus.
Jesus' story is not over. We live between Jesus ushering in the kingdom of God and it arriving in its fullness when he returns. As we prepare to celebrate the glorious gift of Jesus coming to us on that first Christmas morning wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, we also remember that we are called to wait patiently and prepare for the coming of Jesus again. Sometimes, the wait is for Jesus' healing hand to arrive in the brokenness of our lives.
During this season, we cry out with our children, "Please, Christmas, don't be late." In patience, we enter into the presence of Christ with us every day, living as though the return has already happened.