[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1447351195278{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1447351054614{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text]by Karen Treat

“How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” Thessalonians 3:9-13

I have referred to this time in my life as my prolonged season of Advent. I am in waiting. I have been prepared for ordained ministry in the Lutheran church. I am waiting for the church that God has called me to serve. The waiting has been long and at times difficult.

We are at the end of the season of autumn and soon to be in the preparations for Christmas. For some of us, this is the Season of Advent. This is the time we reflect on our hearts and realize our need for the baby who is to come on a cold winter night. It is a season filled with many emotions.

How do I wait upon the Lord in my season of Advent? How do I look up from my despair and know of God’s continued presence in my daily life? How to I live in hope? What about others who live in that same waiting? What about those times we need to hear and see where God is leading us? How do we find strength in those times when it is physically and emotionally too hard to move?

Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians reminds us that in community with each other and the Holy Spirit we are given confidence. We see God’s presence in our neighbor who offers an encouraging word. We sense God’s abiding love as we gather with friends and family. We feel God’s presence as we feel that nudge to reach out to another for hope and understanding.

I don’t like waiting. Yet, I know God is making clear my path. As the path is being set before me, I am strengthened by God’s love and by all whom I meet upon the way. Thanks be to God.

Karen is a spiritual director at Loyola. Read her bio.