What do trains have to do with Advent? "Waitin' on the train?" is one of those wise old sayings used to ask someone what they are up to or why they are waiting. Keep reading for more on Advent and waiting.
Last week in Sunday worship, we used a model train set re-railer section as an illustration of what Advent is like in our lives. The model train folks know that the re-railer section of track inserted at the beginning of the home stretch straight-a-way helps the train realign all the wheels of the carriages which follow the engine. This realignment process allows for a successful venture around the loop again.
Advent is the four weeks preceding Christmas in the Christian calendar. Advent is important to the annual observance of the birth of Jesus. You might say that Christmas is just not the same unless we prepare for it with Advent. So why do we observe this season? So that our minds, bodies, and souls can be realigned in the purposes of the Almighty God. So that we can be readjusted in our purposes in the ministries of Jesus. Advent is a time for us to make a way for the Holy Spirit of God to enter or re-enter our lives and direct us in the way of living that brings glory to God.
Advent is also thought to be a time of waiting. Many of the scriptures we read in worship during this season speak of not knowing the hour or day that Jesus will return to Earth to unite heaven and earth in the full glory of God. We do wait as we live in the present time referred to as NOW and we wait for the future time referred to as THE NOT YET. Jesus has indeed come into the world to usher in the kingdom of God. But God's work in the world is not yet complete. Just as we wait on God, we are called to be about the ministries of Jesus in the present time to be a part of God's redemption plan for the world. You might say God is waiting on us too as the world lives into the future God intends for humankind.
So, waiting on the Lord is not a spectator sport. We are called into action to prepare the way of the Lord as God-With-Us re-enters this world to realign and redirect God's people. Waiting takes patience. Waiting on the train is something we may do from time to time. But action is also required. And that can be emphasized with another train saying, "Laying the track is important work!" Advent calls us to prepare our hearts for receiving the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
Along the Way with Pastor Paul Harris
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend