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The wait is almost over. Every Who down in Whoville, the small and the tall… and every boy and girl in Chalfont, New Britain, Lansdale, Perkasie and beyond… has been waiting for ‘you know who’ to slide down their chimney with all sorts of delights. For those of us who are tasked with making sure that wait is not met with disappointment, the ‘wait’ is really a race to get everything done. I always thought that when my children were grown the race would quiet down, the hectic pace of the season would mellow. But here I am still frantically trying to finish tasks… too many tasks… before Saturday. Just wondering- are you in the race this year, or is it possible that you have found time to wait?

We began our Advent worship four weeks ago with these words:
Advent is a time of waiting… 
We were offered the Advent invitation… nay admonition… to wait not for some red-suited visitor and the trinkets he might bring, but for the Light of the world. That first Sunday of Advent we were reminded that we are 
waiting in expectation for the Light of the world to come.
Isaiah writes, “A people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”

Our response in worship that first Sunday was:
We are the people walking in darkness.
We need the One who is the Light, 
who alone can dispel the darkness and bring hope into the world. 

Just wondering- are you in the race this year, or is it possible you have found time to wait?

Last Friday, people gathered at Lenape Valley to celebrate the life of one of our dear members. There was much to celebrate in her beautiful life, well lived…. even more to celebrate in her strong faith witness in our midst. With each story told, each hymn sung, I fought back the tears. For the last seven years, I have been privileged to share life’s journey with this beautiful woman, learning from her along the way. She was on the Pastoral Nominating Committee who brought me to Lenape Valley. When LVC experienced some growing pains as they welcomed their first called woman pastor, she stood by my side with wise counsel. When I faced my first funeral for a beloved member of our community, with a greeting line that stretched all the way to Ute Rd, she was there to encourage my anxious heart. Each step of the way, she offered unconditional friendship, and prayerful counsel. I learned much from this dear member over the years, but never more than I learned in her last days.

This strong, passionate woman experienced the devastation that Parkinson’s can wrought. That disease stole away her stability, then her mobility, and finally even her speech, leaving her locked in a prison rocked by endless involuntary movement. I could not have dreamed that in those last agonizing days she would offer her greatest lesson.

Imagine what a visit with this dear woman was like this last year. I would come with news from the church… a scripture… a hymn (sung only when no one else was listening). I would ask questions, always ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions, to which she could give a thumbs up/ thumbs down, and at times her famous ‘so-so’ thumb that wiggled up and down. Sometimes, in the middle of our visit, she would raise her index finger- the indication that her talkative pastor needed to pause. That pause would stretch… sometimes for minutes… as this courageous woman would struggle to rally tongue and breath to utter a word. I learned to tame my instinct to fill awkward silence with words… often religious words quoted from Scripture or said in His name. But with this dear member, I learned to pause… to wait… I knew if a word would come, it would be like pure gold. I loved those moments together. They slowed my anxious pace, teaching me patience, giving me a heart for the simple in life. I will miss those quiet moments… but I don’t have to…

The season of Advent is an invitation not to race against time to get everything done, but rather to pause long enough to hear a precious word from the One who brings light in the darkness. How desperately those of us who live in this dark world need a word from the Savior. Can you picture that Babe of Bethlehem with His index finger raised, asking us to pause…? The prophet Isaiah offers this invitation from the One: 
Be still and know that I am God… 
Be still… even as I write those words, my mind is racing… so much to do, so little time. But in that urgent race, I am missing what is important. So, for a moment I will be still… allowing my list to fall to the side… taking one slow breath at a time… eyes closed…

Here I am Lord… listening… expecting…
With you learning how to wait on the Lord, 
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