The Waiting Place

Theme: Celebrating Jesus' birth and waiting for his return. - 1st Sunday in Advent
Object: "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss
Scripture: "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' " Mark 13:35-37 (NIV)

I have heard that if you live to be seventy years old, you will spend three years of your life just waiting. Waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in the doctor's office, waiting for lunch to be ready, waiting for recess time at school.

In his book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go," Dr. Seuss talks about a place called "the waiting place." He describes it as a useless place where people are just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

I don't particularly like waiting, do you? I don't like it, but I don't know of any way to avoid it. We all have to spend some time in this "waiting place" that Dr. Seuss talks about, but I don't think it has to be a useless place. While we are waiting, life goes on, and we must make good use of our time. What can we do? Well, we could read a good book or call a friend on the cell phone. We could make a list of things we need to do today or, we could even study for our weekly spelling test. Well, maybe that's going a bit too far, but there are many things we can do besides just waiting.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent means "to come." Do you know what's coming? Of course, Christmas is coming. This is an exciting time, but it may also be a difficult time of waiting -- especially for children. Waiting for the day when you can open the gifts that you see under the tree. What can we do to make this time of waiting for Christmas more than just a useless time in the waiting place? Well, we can think about the true meaning of Christmas. We can think about Jesus and his love. We can think about giving instead of receiving. We can enjoy all of beautiful music and the decorations of the season. When we do those things, we will find joy in the waiting place.

We are waiting for Christmas, but we are also waiting for something else. We are waiting for Jesus' return. He told us that he would come again and he told us to watch and be ready for him. What should we do while we are waiting? We should worship and praise him, love and serve him, and share his love with others. When we are doing those things, we will be ready for his return, and we will find joy in the waiting place.

Heavenly Father, as we spend time in this waiting place, we look forward with great joy to the celebration of Jesus' birth and to the day when he comes again. Amen.

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