Advent. Waiting. And Singleness.
I’ve been trying to come up with a fun “single” twist on Advent season for the past week and I haven’t had much luck. The truth is, it can be easy as a single woman to feel a bit alienated from the mainstream Christmas traditions and books and such, as they are mostly family-oriented in nature and often serve to remind us singles that we don’t yet have a family. We shop for Christmas presents alone…we decorate our trees alone…we stand under numerous bundles of mistletoe alone and pray Creepy McCreeperson from the office party won’t choose this moment to make his move. (Because in the holiday movie of our lives, the male lead rarely ever looks like Jude Law. Or at least Jude Law ten years and a lot more hair ago. Sorry, Jude. If it’s any consolation, you WERE, once upon a time, bae.)
But I digress.
The truth is, as much as I love Christmas (and I do love Christmas. You should see my apartment. It looks like Santa’s Workshop. On steroids.)…I’ve had a little bit of difficulty this year finding the commonality between the holiday season and the single season. Until yesterday in church, when my pastor reminded me that Advent is all about waiting.
Obviously “Advent” in the Christian tradition is literally the four Sundays preceding Christmas. But the actual definition of the word is much more telling:
Advent – an arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited.
Advent is waiting in expectation for something we’ve waited a long time for. And while we are obviously waiting in expectation for the day that we celebrate our Savior’s birth, I think Advent can also be a reminder of the importance of waiting for anything we hope for, long for, pray for.
And who can better understand WAITING…than single women?
I’ve never been a great “waiter.” I abhor sitting in traffic. I tap my toe impatiently waiting for a movie or a concert to start while eating my way through my entire box of Junior Mints before the previews even come on. And don’t even get me started on waiting in line at Chick Fil A (seriously…when you have to have a police officer direct traffic in and out of your restaurant 24/7, it’s time to open a second franchise! And really, what is in those nuggets that makes them so addictive?!?)
But most of all…I am weary of waiting for love.
I am weary of having no one to cook for (I never thought THAT day would come!) I am weary of not having a partner to back me up when the oil change place tries to convince me that I need a new filter, new wiper blades, a new engine, and a partridge in a pear tree. I am weary of not having a “tribe.” I am weary of buying wedding and baby shower gifts for other people (sorry, friends. I am.) I am weary of the endless parade of adorable family photos of fun holiday happenings that my various social media timelines are besieged with this time of year. I am weary of sitting alone and going places alone. I am weary of having no one to share my heart and my life and my love with.
I love my life. I am content in my singleness. I don’t doubt my completeness or my value as a single person. But I am ready for the next chapter of my life and all the experiences it will bring…and I am weary of waiting for it.
But if Advent is a season that celebrates the act of WAITING…isn’t it possible that there’s something sacred in the waiting that God wants to share with us?
Waiting and God’s silence seem to go hand in hand. It’s not called “Silent Night” for nothing. As Pastor Trevor pointed out yesterday, when the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah to inform him that his wife Elizabeth would soon bear a son (John the Baptist) who would help usher in the coming Messiah, he struck Zechariah completely silent for Elizabeth’s entire pregnancy. (See Luke 1) So isn’t there something there that should tell us that while hoping for the miracle, while praying for the miracle, while waiting for the miracle, maybe we should view God’s silence not as punishment but as preparation? Maybe we should stop cursing the waiting and start thanking God for it? Maybe we should trust that His timing and His way is perfect, and that He’s only asking us to wait because He loves us too much to bring us something we’re not yet ready for?
“Long lay the world, in sin and error pining…til He appeared, and the soul felt it’s worth…”
Long we wait for the promise. But we do not wait alone. He is here, in the waiting, in the praying, in the weeping, in the hoping, in the doubting, in the trusting, in the wishing…HE IS HERE.
I guess my hope for me and for you and for all single women this Advent season, if nothing else, is to embrace the beautiful uncertainty of waiting. If it seems like God is silent, maybe it’s because it’s your turn to talk. Tell Him your doubts, your fears, your dreams. Then wait. Wait with expectation for His arrival. I can’t tell you when or how or even IF your dream or my dream of love and marriage will come true…but I can assure you that no matter what happens, He will be with us in the midst of it.
And it will be beautiful.