Daily Bread December 18

Worth the Wait
Larry McGuire of Gilbert, AZ, USA

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
    because the LORD has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
    and the day of vengeance of our God;
    to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion-
    to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. -Isaiah 61:1-3a

It had been a long day of trying to accomplish work-related tasks, run personal errands, talk with a colleague on the other side of the world at a time convenient for him, and get one of our kids to physical therapy. A full day of stuff!

After all that, we needed to go food shopping. As we walked the aisles of the store, the cart became difficult to push because of the weight of all the items. Finally, after getting everything on our list (and things not on the list!), we stood in line to check out.

We chatted with the woman scanning items from our cart and tried to guess the final amount spent. The kids helped their mother pack items in bags. When she was done scanning, the clerk gave us a discount for providing our own bags, then asked if we had a card to help reduce the cost even more. We didn’t, so she started to sign us up. Meanwhile the line of customers waiting to check out began to grow.

She called for a manager to help us complete the process. We were hungry and tired, and the kids still needed time for showers and other things before going to bed. The clerk assured us it would only be a few minutes. When she was ready to complete the process, she scanned our receipt and the register began giving us credit for purchases. About one third of the way through, however, the register stopped. No matter what she did, the computer would not give us full credit. Her only solution was to void the entire purchase, unpack the groceries and re-scan. I tried to remain patient and helpful, but asked, “Is it worth the wait?”

In the end, we received credit for our purchases. As I walked out, the clerk said, “Thank you for being so patient and helpful. I hope the wait was worth it for you and your family.” I wonder how many times during this season of Advent have I asked, “Is it worth the wait?” This year, I pray I can affirm that it’s worth the wait. Come, Lord Jesus, I’ve waited for you, and it’s been worth every second.

Advent Prayer Phrase

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

Advent Spiritual Practice

Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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