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Fall Edition
Volume 99, Number 2

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Sweet Expectation

Eisenhower decorated in Christmas lights

Katie Ness '08

Outside Eisenhower Campus Center, a candle-lit ceremony encourages meditation and introspection.

By Jon Vaitl '06

God becomes human. Immortality infuses weeping mortality. I find it perfectly natural to think this over the course of Advent, a church tradition I never celebrated, aside from the occasional boxed calendar hiding chocolates behind tiny doors. You have to be patient with those calendars, to learn how to live with the anticipation of tomorrow’s candy. I never did, of course. I’d eat all the chocolates on the first day, then carefully close those tiny doors. Hopefully, since I was but a child, God got a kick out of that more than he harbored some deep resentment for my inability to demonstrate restraint. I sincerely hope, on the day of judgment, that God doesn’t boom in inquiry, “Why did you eat all the chocolates at once?” Because the best I’ll have to offer is, “Have you had chocolate? It’s delicious.”

Fortunately, my Advent failures haven’t translated into a lifetime of devilish behavior. I learned patience. I learned to wait. More importantly, I learned what it meant to wait on God. But for me, the good news can’t end there. I look to the example of Jesus, and I see a man who continually called people into action. Join him. Follow him. They waited for a Messiah, for freedom, and they would continue to wait for redemption, just as we do today. And yet, Jesus called people to live life in abundance, even while they waited. I suppose I imagine God, too, waiting in anticipation — on us. As we wait for God, God waits for us. Our excitement when God reveals himself can only be outdone by God’s excitement when we step closer to him. The eternal God incarnated a little boy named Jesus. And now the eternal Jesus incarnates us. He lives on in us, in words spoken through love, in our hope, in our faith, in the way we live with joy. Word becoming flesh — could it be that happens over and over, everyday?

We know patience as a fruit of the Spirit. But even as you wait, perhaps add to your anticipation that longing in your heart: to create art, to sing, to frolic in fields of daisies with cute people. Whatever gives your heart joy. (Just don’t eat whole boxes of chocolates; you’ll come to regret that.) I imagine the fruit of the Spirit as a bunch, like bananas, coming to us as one. The sweet expectation of Advent comes hugging the joy of following after God’s own expectant call.

Jon Vaitl '06 works as a paralegal in Philadelphia.

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