I seem to spend a good deal of my time waiting for something. Waiting for traffic lights, for a book to come to the library, for my time at work (or the gym) to be over so I can do what I want, for spring or fall or winter to come. Most of the time, what I waited for seems to take much less time and be worth less than I had anticipated when I was waiting.
It struck me last night at the Good Friday service that the format of the service was very similar to the familiar Festival of Lessons and Carols that most people have on Christmas Eve, only with a much different ending: the lights went out to extinguish life, not to herald a new light dawning. Not yet. And now the waiting. Not waiting fulfilled of Christmas, but waiting in loss. Waiting for Easter.
Yet no one is really thinking about it. Not like they do for Christmas. And do they really think about Christmas? I know I think about food and parties and friends, decorations and presents and travel. Not the tiny cold baby in a manger, a promise at once given and fulfilled — a promise of Easter to come. So it shouldn’t surprise me that the world, and I, go on, not really waiting so much as marking time.
When tonight is over, the Son will rise. We will rejoice, for a little while, and then go on with life. If the waiting is to be over, we must do more than let the lilies, chocolate, and dinners full of what we didn’t eat for Lent sweep us away for another year.
I must let the Son rise in my heart, let the DayStar shower me with light and take away the pettiness, the mean-souled selfishness that possesses me, and fill the emptiness of my heart with the empty tomb and its promise. And I must do it again, every day a little Easter, a little promise, at once fulfilled and given, of the true Sonrise to come, when waiting will be no more.
The biggest sacrifice, the biggest gift; is it His to give? Or mine?