Batuhan: Waiting

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By Allan S. B. Batuhan

Foreign Exchange

Saturday, December 7, 2013

WE ARE coming to that time of year again. Halloween and Thanksgiving, all-American holidays that are now the staple of our holiday landscape, have come and gone. Which means that Christmas is fast approaching. And we wait for that joyful time of year, when He comes to the world, to give peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

But before we get to Christmas, we pass through Advent first—the period of waiting for the coming of The One who saves all of mankind.

But what is Advent? From Wikipedia, we find this:

“Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning ‘coming’.

“Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches’ equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs in both length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on Sept. 1. At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Dec. 25, which is the Sunday between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.

“Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.”

Last Sunday, the Catholic Church began the celebration of Advent. I think in our time, Advent takes on a very significant meaning, far more than what it used to hold previously.

Why do I say this?

In times past, waiting was part of people’s lives. In the period before phones—let alone mobile phones—were invented, the only way to get a message across to someone was to write a letter. Or perhaps to call on the subject in person. These things took time. One had to travel to where one wanted to be, or at least had to have the letter travel to where the recipient was. And time developed the virtue of patience, because in writing a message, one had to be very deliberate, composed, and focused on the task at hand. More so with actual travelling and going to see someone.

Today, none of what we know as “waiting” even exists. With text messaging, we can immediately tell someone what we think, or how we feel about him. With Twitter and Facebook, everyone instantly knows what we think about anything and everything.

Which leads us to the mistaken notion that everything is under our control. And which of course undervalues the virtue of patience, that underpins a host of other desirable traits—perseverance, focus, attentiveness, and of course—humility. One does not learn these life-enriching qualities through instant acquisition. These take time and patience.

So let us relearn some of the old ways. Not everything can be had in a nanosecond. And it is perhaps His way of telling us this reality, through the celebration of Advent.

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Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 07, 2013.


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