No matter your religious background or (non) affiliation, I’m sure you’re aware that Christmas is approaching. For Christians of many traditions, the 4-ish weeks leading up to the big day are called Advent, the lesser-know cousin of Lent. While Lent is often thought of as a time of preparation, Advent is looked upon as a time of expectation and waiting. In terms of Christmas, this “expectant waiting” is in regards to the birth of Jesus, but in the bigger picture, it is also a time when Christians are to wait with expectation for the return/second coming of Christ.
For me, though, all this talk of waiting with expectation helps me (and others) realize how often in our own lives we are doing such a thing already. Last Advent, a friend wrote how his presence waiting for the birth of a friend’s child was such an experience (an obvious close parallel to waiting for the birth of Jesus). For me, when I heard the pastor speaking of such waiting on the first Sunday of Advent, it made me think about my current situation, a status I share with millions in this country: looking for a job!
For me, I think what separates the “Advent” kind of waiting from the waiting you do when your car is sitting at a red light is that it’s a proactive waiting. At a red light, you’re just sitting there with nothing to do. But when a baby is on its way, there is so much to do before you’re ready for the baby to pop out! Not are there only necessary preparations, but there are also preparations you want to go through with (a certain diet, exercising right, etc.) that you hope with make the outcome turn out the best it possibly can.
The job hunt is very much a “waiting with expectation” experience for me. If it were only such that I could sit back and wait for the phone to ring and a job offer to arrive with no work on my part! But such is not the case. Instead, I continue to patrol job postings, write and send out cover letters, and then hope and pray that I might have the opportunity to interview. But after I send out a few cover letters, I don’t just sit a few weeks until I do or don’t hear from someone, but I continue the process of searching, writing, and sending as I wait… with expectation.
I have faith that I will one day get a job, though I don’t know when it will come or where it will take me. So I keep pressing on, working hard toward the final goal. And that’s really what waiting with expectation is all about, no matter what you might be waiting for.