Last Monday afternoon I sat with my son at the eye doctor’s office. We sat in the waiting room and watched people enter. Some were calm and relaxed, others were frazzled and hurried. On the flat screen TV across from where we were sitting masterpieces of art flashed by as each received brand new pairs of glasses. Upon noticing this advertisement, we both chuckled. Looking around the office it was blatantly decorated for Christmas, but no words, signs or messages – just lights, and lots of snowmen with stocking hats and scarves carrying packages. Receptionists checked people in and received payments, other workers scurried about in what seemed like madness (though it seemed choreographed), nurses called names and took people to rooms to be met by doctors who moved deliberately into those rooms to welcome their patients. It was a cacophony of sound, movement, chaos, and intentionality. This all occurred in a flash, through our brief visit to the doctors’ office.
Meanwhile we waited. A gentleman sat adjacent to us with his two boys on some chairs, and we chatted and joked with them while we waited for what seemed like most of the afternoon for our appointment. (It ended up being about a half an hour.) When it was our turn to see the doctor we found him to be direct, but not rushed; engaging but not off topic, as he wrote a new prescription and proposed a plan for the future. In a few moments he thanked us, and we thanked him and we went off to the rest our day.
Advent is a lot like a visit to the doctor. The whole Christian life is. There is the waiting part, of course, but it is much more than that. There is the hope and expectation of being seen, helped, and changed by what might happen. There are those we meet along the way who not only help pass the time, but over time we count as friends also quietly waiting for their physician. There are the workers, the church, and our Christian lives of service which seem chaotic and disorganized at times, but are also well orchestrated, planned, and intentional. There are the silly things we notice – like the Mona Lisa wearing spectacles or snowmen adorning stocking hats and scarves (OK, I have some too, but just think – why would a person made of snow want warm clothing?). The choice we have is to either scoff at how ridiculous it appears or take some amusement in the humor. In any case – in Advent we wait, hopefully with some patience for the Master Physician who is on his way.
Jesus will enter (dear God may it be soon!) with the same clarity, directness, engagement, and inviting manner as our ophthalmologist. After careful waiting, he brings a plan and a new vision for the future we may have never seen on our own. He comes to correct our line of sight even when we struggle to read the letters on the next line as he send us on our way refreshed, renewed and encouraged. This is what we are waiting for, and why the atmosphere in the waiting room is calm and relaxed rather than hurried and uncomfortable. We know that once the Light of the world enters we can again see that world with fresh eyes.
I liked this eye doctor. I liked him so well I made myself an appointment to see him this week. I’ve never really worn glasses before, but somehow my blurry sense of what is normal or right or true could use new vision. Isn’t that what we are all waiting for? Isn’t that what Advent is about? Isn’t that the Christian life we hope to lead?
We wait joyfully for new vision to come. The doctor will see you now.
Peace, Pastor Geoff
Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)