On Waiting

This past Sunday saw the beginning of the Season of Advent. These four weeks of Advent are about waiting. For me, this fall has been an exercise in waiting. My move to Germany was a painfully slow process. The town I moved to has far more students than apartments, so finding housing has been extremely difficult. In fact, I am still living in a monastery that has shown me true hospitality these past two months. But I pick up the keys to my very own apartment on Thursday and move in on Monday, which is exciting to say the least.

Many other things have also been slow: getting my residency papers complete took several weeks; beginning my research took far longer than desired; and learning the language continues to take time.

And so I wait.

In the past two months of living in a strange place with a strange language, I have discerned that waiting requires discipline. Just a few weeks ago, I might have told you that waiting takes doctoral student levels of ambivalence. But recently, I've begun to realize that waiting, far from being ambivalent, requires trust. Moveover, waiting requires nourishment. The claim that "it'll all work out" offers relief on the one hand, but, on the other, such a claim is unsustainable without nourishment for the waiting. That is, without substance to back it up, eventually the claim, "It'll all work out," becomes meaningless platitude.

What, then, does such nourishment look like? More often than not, it takes the form of remembering the past, the form of story-telling. And so we turn to Advent. Advent is when we tell the story of God's faithfulness to his people throughout history.

There is perhaps no better contemporary exercise in this sort of story-telling than Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb of God. This is Advent story-telling par excellence. In addition to the very fine CD, Andrew tours every winter, playing the complete set with some of his friends (who just happen to be some of the best singer-songwriters around). I went last year, and my fiance and I have tickets to attend this year's show at the Ryman Auditorium too. We look forward to being nourished so that we can keep waiting in trusting expectation.

Craig D. Katzenmiller is Tokens’ Social Media Editor. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Liturgical Theology and Ethics at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg.