On Waiting

by Grace Whitaker

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31)

Following this announcement from the angel Gabriel, Mary likely experienced myriad emotions, ranging from excitement to confusion to fear. Above all, though, she was expectant, as she responds to the angel in Luke 1:38, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” However, when the dust of all the excitement settled, Mary found herself pregnant, with nearly nine full months left to go before this brilliant promise would be realized. Over the course of the next nine months, she would contend with tension in her relationship with Joseph, judgment from her family and neighbors, the physical pains of pregnancy, and the stress of impending motherhood. On top of all of these things, she had nine months in which to be flooded by doubts—about the validity of the angel’s message, the reality of her pregnancy, and her ability to carry through this aspect of God’s great plan for humankind. We are told very little about Mary’s pregnancy, and Christ is born in the very next chapter of Luke, but these various pressures and toils were Mary’s daily reality.

How often do we feel entirely overwhelmed by the stress of seasons of waiting? Our Advent season lasts only four weeks, not nine months, but this time of year can be especially frustrating for us as college students. The weather is bleak, midterm season bleeds into finals season, and there’s a constant tension between how quickly the days move when it comes to deadlines and how slowly they move in anticipation of winter break. What’s more frustrating is that our waiting isn’t passive—we must fill these days of waiting with strenuous (and often tedious) work, which makes the finish line seem that much farther away. But we do not find ourselves in this time without purpose: God is just as present in our waiting as He is when our waiting ends. As we participate in Advent this year, may we be encouraged by His presence in our day-to-day lives and live in the hope of His promises for the present and the future alike. May we persevere through the long days and nights of finals season in anticipation of the rest and celebration that we are soon to experience. And may we be reminded of the goodness that is to come by the words spoken upon the end of the original season of Advent: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

Grace Whitaker is a second year at UVA studying English.

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