Prayer: Wonderful Counsellor, we stand firm in Your love knowing that You will be coming soon. We wait patiently for Your return. Save us for the sake of Your love. Amen.
Read James 5: 7- 12
The Book of James is a wonderful collection of how to live and mature as Christians. It could be called the Christians Advice column if it was written in a newspaper or a blog.
The communities that received this advice were Christian House Churches that were under persecution. Christians were suffering because of what they believed.
James begins this scripture passage by telling his readers to be patient and stand firm until the Lord’s coming. Be patient. Wait. These are themes of Advent as well! James gives the example of farmers waiting for the land to yield a crop through the autumn until the crop sprouts and grows because of the spring rains. So too, says James, that we must wait with patience and stand firm in our beliefs until the Lord’s coming.
James says in order to stand firm in our faith we must not grumble against each other. We must not grumble against our friends. We should take the example of the prophets who kept persevering by telling the people again and again and again to return to God when the people would turn their backs on God. By standing firm in our faith and persevering, we discover that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
What does waiting and having patience mean for you this Advent? As consumers we hear about the rush to purchase gifts for Christmas and baking cookies for Christmas and preparing our houses for people to visit over Christmas. Do you have friends that are slowly going nuts trying to get everything completed for Christmas? But as Christians we are to wait and have patience and celebrate the gifts of Advent and prepare ourselves for the birth of the Christ Child. The ‘stuff’ of Christmas has gotten in the way of Advent – of the time of waiting and patience and preparing.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in his Homily last Sunday (15 December 2013) that the patience James is writing about here is like lunch and the difference between a microwave lunch and a slow cooker meal. When we think of lunches, we often find something that we pop in the microwave. It is instant and fast and filling. But God is not like a microwave -- God is like a slow cooker.... the meal takes a good 8 to 10 hours to cook but once fully cooked the meal is delightful and wonderful and delicious. This is the kind of patience that James is taking about.
During this third week of Advent, how will you stand firm in celebrating the waiting and preparing for Advent?
What one thing will you do today to wait and have patience for Advent?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, out of the shadows of night You bring us into the light of day. As we live out our everyday life, You surround us with Your love so that our lives are made new. May we always stand firm in our beliefs and wait patiently for Your gifts of renewal, of love, of peace, and of joy. Emmanuel, God with us, You are our life and our love and we are Your people. Amen.