“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…”
(Galatians 4:4 ESV)
by Kaitlyn T Wood
I was just 18 years old when my mother passed away. It was the end of August right before I was scheduled to return to my sophomore year of college at Eastern University. The months that followed were a mixture of emotions as I went back to school a few weeks late and tried to keep tabs on how my father and younger siblings were doing back home.
I remember returning home for Thanksgiving break and noticing that my father had removed his wedding band. To say that my sisters and I were furious would be an understatement!
“How could you move on so quickly dad?!”
“What, so everything is just fine now? We’re supposed to just let go of mom?”
I won’t say our reactions were rational, I’m not sure there was anything rational about those months. But as we approached the first round of holidays without our mother, the anticipation was often more than we could stomach.
On Christmas morning, we opened all of our gifts while a quiet sense of emptiness sat in the center of our living room. When the last gift had been opened, my father spoke up.
“Hold on, I have one more gift for each of you girls.”
The four of us sat awkwardly waiting… my dad wasn’t known for his great gift giving. When he returned to the living room he held four small gift boxes with bows. He gave each of us a box and stepped back as we opened them.
Inside each box was a silver heart hanging from a thin chain. Before my father could speak, I looked at the pendant and noticed the unique design on the side of the heart. I knew exactly what this was. My mother and father had matching wedding bands with small curved etches around the outside and their wedding date engraved inside.
I immediately thought back to my anger with my father at Thanksgiving as I realized that he had taken both his and my mother’s wedding rings and had them turned into necklaces for us. He had taken the most important symbol of his 28 year marriage and turned it in to a beautiful gift. He stood kindly while I judged him for removing it, never lashing out… never even defending himself. Just waiting. Knowing.
The Hebrew people spent a lot of time waiting. Waiting for freedom, for the promised land, for an end to exile, for the Messiah who would redeem Israel. The prophets promised a Messiah who would be the Prince of Peace. Immanuel – a God who would dwell with us. But then Luke tells us that for 14 generations there was silence from heaven.
Only God the Father understood the timing of His perfect gift. If there is one thing I can learn about God in this Advent season, it is that He is patient. God is never early and never late. “When the fullness of time had come….” God came to redeem His people.
In Advent we look back to that season of waiting, the time when God’s people waited for Him to move. But we also look forward to the time when Christ will return. We live in this tension. We live in a world that aches with turmoil and division. We live lives that feel tattered and empty as we wait on an answer, a relationship, a job, a child, an apology, a healing…
True peace is not the absence of these aches or the elimination of this tension. No, true peace is the real hope we have in God’s patience and persistence despite the turmoil that rages around us. We can know for certain this season that God has not abandoned us, that He has not forgotten us, or ignored our cries.
Instead, we can see him much like my earthly father. Who stood silently while I cursed him for moving on too quickly. Who lovingly sacrificed his most precious possession for my sisters and I. And who patiently waited to reveal his own plan at its given time.
Oh God, so often in our waiting we accuse You of being distant or ignorant. We lose patience when we don’t see a solution or hear an answer. God, in this season of Advent help us to find peace in Your patience. Help us to stand firm in Your goodness. No matter what it is that we find ourselves waiting for in this season, give us peace.
Kaitlyn Wood is a wife, mother to 3 young boys, ministry director, and seminary student from upstate New York. She has a deep love for the local church, teaching, and what she calls “Pedestrian Theology” (the belief that everyone can know and understand God in a deep and authentic way). Kaitlyn studied Media & the Modern American Church as a graduate student and is currently pursuing her Masters of Divinity. Kaitlyn can be found teaching many Sunday mornings and occasionally blogging at www.kaitlyntwood.com/blog