Malachi 3:1-4 / Luke 2:29-32 / Philippians 1:3-11 / Luke 3:1-6
“The World Can End Now”
By Deborah Heinrich
My husband of a little over a year, Matt, said to me with a smile as he cradled our newborn son. My initial reaction was confusion until my memory recalled the story he once told me of his younger self; the story of a little boy who pleaded with God, in the faithful way children can, knowing, without a doubt, that He was there and He was listening. During this prayer, Matt asked his Lord for a favor, a request, that He should wait to end the world that Jesus should not return, that Matt should not die, until he was given children of his own.
As part of our Advent observance, we’ve been reading through the Gospel of Luke together as a family. In Luke chapter 2 verse 25, we meet a man named Simeon, a man who has his own bargain with God. Simeon was promised that he would meet his Savior before he died, and he spent his whole life waiting to meet the Child Jesus. I cannot know how fulfilling that moment in the temple must have been for Simeon, though I imagine it looked a bit like the moment Matt shared with our son upon meeting him. Just two men, generations apart, no longer waiting.
I, myself, have a newfound appreciation for waiting. This is the first year that I can celebrate Advent while fully understanding what it is like to await the birth of a child. This year I find myself wondering a lot about the first Advent; the first time someone counted down the days in the last month before the Christ’s birth. Did Mary have the same feelings I did during the last month of pregnancy? Did the woman who bore the Son of God have the same fears of labor? Did she wait patiently, or did she wish to be free of her swollen ankles and feet as quickly as possible? Did she pray that God would give her as much time as possible with her son before He had to take Him away from her?
All these questions, and the hundreds of others I have regarding God and His Mysteries, will not be answered in my lifetime. No, now is the time to await the day my questions will either be answered or quenched, but I do not wait alone. I wait with the whole of Christ’s Church, and together we wait to meet the Risen Christ, like Mary, who was called blessed, and Simeon, who was shown his Salvation, waited to meet the baby Jesus.
“Lord, now let thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; to be a light unto the Gentiles, and to be the glory of thy people Israel.”