As a person who suffers mightily with patience, today’s readings resonated with me and told me in this age of impatient instant gratification, especially during the chaotic pace of the holiday season, it is critically important that we slow down and patiently listen for God’s voice. It is fitting that the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth from the Gospel of Luke fit into our reflections as their own waiting and patience can be directly connected to the center piece of the Advent season which is waiting for the greatest gift of all – the Son of God to arrive.
Zechariah and Elizabeth, coming from a proud lineage of priests from Aaron were righteous people and who followed all the commandments of the Lord yet the one gift they were waiting for, bringing a child into the world, had alluded them. Advanced in years, they thought, despite their discipline and patience, this opportunity had passed them by. We soon realize, however, that God works on his own time and in his own way when he informs Zechariah that Elizabeth would finally miraculously bear a child. Despite the years of waiting for this precious gift there is no rejoicing from Zechariah rather there is doubt and skepticism “as he was troubled by what he saw and fear overcame him.” He needed further assurance from the Lord that all was going to be okay and, as always, the Lord answered and told him “you will have joy and gladness and many will rejoice at his birth for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”
There are many times in our lives when we may feel that God is not listening or that even when we persistently pray and ask for God’s support that our prayers go seemingly unanswered. It is very easy to grow impatient and troubled, much like I’m sure Zechariah and Elizabeth felt for much of their lives as they waited patiently for the Lord to give them the gift of a child.
We must remember that God works on his own time and in his own way. We must patiently look and listen for the ways he is trying to answer our prayers and be reminded, as in the words he spoke directly to Zechariah, “do not be afraid” when he answers our call in his own way.
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent