Wednesday, December 16, 2015

While You Wait

Advent is a time of waiting.  Not only do we await the Christmas we are about celebrate, but we await the timeless coming of our Savior, who comes to us in humility, born in a manger, to save us from our sins out of love for us.

We have lost the ability to wait patiently-- for anything.  We live in an ASAP world.  In my first job after graduating college, I worked for a large publishing company.  We had a teletype machine to receive urgent news.  Several years later, we got a fax machine that used thermal paper on a roll.  Today, we rarely use faxes and the product of the postal service has been dubbed ‘snail mail.’  We watch for e-mails with attachments while we are still talking to the person who is sending them.  We IM (instant message), Tweet, and text. 

We don’t like to wait.  Some waits can seem like an eternity-- waiting while someone is in surgery, waiting for someone to drive home on a treacherous, snowy evening, waiting for someone to come home safely from their tour of duty overseas. 

What do you do while you wait? Check your phone, your e-mail, surf the web?  Do you pace?  And what about waiting in line, at the grocery store, the mall, the cafeteria? Do you pray?

Waiting is an opportunity given to us by God.  I never used to look at it that way, but as I grow older, I am almost grateful for occasions beyond my control (traffic tie ups, for example), where I must wait, for it gives me an opportunity to pray, to talk, to think, to contemplate.

The Church gives us Advent to prepare for the coming of our Savior.  It is a time of waiting.  Not only does it recall the 4,000 years of waiting for Jesus’ first coming as Man, but it is an opportunity for us to prepare our hearts for our Lord to enter them as He comes to save us.

In between the decorating, the wrapping, the baking and all that comes with preparing for Christmas, perhaps we can take some time during the waiting to contemplate the “O” Antiphons which so beautifully draw from the Old Testament the names of Jesus and the hopes of God’s chosen people as they waited for Him.  These antiphons have been used since the eighth century during evening prayer on the last days leading up to Christmas.  If you have ever sung “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” they will sound familiar to you.

As you wait for the coming of our Savior, take some time in these last days of Advent to think of our Lord with the same hope and promise as did our brothers and sisters of the Old Testament.

 Antiphons below taken from USCCB*

December 17

Image: Elizabeth Barnett, 2010,

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18

Image: Elizabeth Barnett, 2010,

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19

Tree of Jesse: Unknown Miniaturist, English (1140s) -
Web Gallery of Art Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

December 20

Augustinian Contemplatives, Our Lady of Grace Monastery

O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

December 21

Christina Grace (The Evangelista), December 2013

O Radiant
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
shadow of death.

December 22

St. Thomas More Church, Paducah, IN, Photo: R Stabosz

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23

Mary Queen of Apostles, from Windows to the Soul Blog

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

Bernadette Boguski has been a Pauline Cooperator for over 20 years. She is a member of St. Columbkille Parish in Parma, OH, where she serves as a Eucharistic Minister, cantor, and member of the music ministry. Bernadette holds a degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and currently serves as the development director for Womankind, a nonprofit agency providing free prenatal care and support services for pregnant women in need. 

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