Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting
December 5, 2022
Advent is traditionally the time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Fred Rogers used to sing to the young children watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: “Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting.” I remember how hard it was as a kid to wait for Christmas to come in the days before, and even more to get to sleep on Christmas Eve.
You may say, “I’m not trying to think of something to do while I’m waiting for Christmas. I’m wondering how I can possibly get everything done before Christmas!” For church leaders this year, preparing for Advent and Christmas services means even more extra seasonal work than there used to be, to make in-person and virtual experiences meaningful. Not to mention looking over the congregation to see if some folks have come back in person—or at all—for the special services.
For busy church leaders, I suggest you have a practice to remind you we’re all waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We all know it’s coming, and what we are celebrating (duh!), but it’s easy to get anxious and distracted. An intentional practice, even a small one, can make even the busiest of Advents more meaningful.
Advent is traditionally the time of waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. For busy church leaders, I suggest choosing a practice to remind you we’re all waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Last year I developed an Advent calendar for adults which you could easily use again, adjusting the dates.
Here’s another idea: make it even simpler by choosing one brief but meaningful act daily—the same one each day. Try one of these—or think up a daily practice of your own to remind you this is a time of spiritual waiting.
-Read a psalm every morning or evening, whichever is the best time for you. The Revised Common Lectionary’s Psalm reading for the first Sunday in Advent this year is Psalm 122. You could read that every day, and let the text sink more fully into you through the days of Advent.
-Plug in your Christmas lights when it gets dark, and say “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”
-When you wake up, say, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; Praise God’s holy name.” Or, when you lie down, say “Even in the waiting, God is with me” (“Daily Prayers for All Seasons,” Church Publishing, 2014, pp. 2, 19). Put a post-it by your bed to remind yourself.
-Play your favorite carol once a day. Sing along if you like.
-The first time you open your door every day, say, “Welcome, Lord Jesus.”
-Light a candle when you sit down to pray, eat a meal, or at your desk to work. Then say, “Jesus Christ, the light of the world.”
-Say a simple prayer before one meal a day (especially if you don’t normally do this). One traditional option: “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed.”
Have a blessed Advent!
Rev. Margaret Marcuson helps ministers do their work without wearing out or burning out, through ministry coaching, presentations and online resources.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of American Baptist Home Mission Societies.