The waiting place . . .

Tales From the Unending Story

December 1, 2021 | Opinion | Volume 25 Issue 25
Joshua Penfold | Columnist
(Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge/Unsplash)

In Dr. Seuss’s book Oh the Places You’ll Go there is a section about “the waiting place.” It is depicted as an undesirable and useless place to be. I wonder if our Advent waiting sometimes feels like that kind of waiting. I wrote a little poem in the style of Dr. Seuss about Advent waiting:

Advent is waiting for Christmas to arrive.
Is it super exciting or do you barely survive?

Are you waiting for reindeer or presents from Santa,
or waiting for weather resembling Atlanta?
Are you waiting forever for a website to load,
or waiting for Christmassy cheer to explode?
Are you waiting to drop a Christmas-wish hint,
or waiting to drink your hot chocolate with mint?
Are you waiting for Christmas to hurry on up?
To see if you’ll get what you wanted: a pup!
Are you waiting to sing your favourite carol,
Or waiting to wear that new Christmas apparel?
Are you waiting with worry or anxious despair?

Could Christmas be waiting for someone out there,
to wait with a different focus and see
that Christmas is more than gifts under a tree?

Advent requires unavoidable waiting,
but will waiting be great or will it be grating?

“They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheep herders were impressed. Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheep herders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!” (Luke 2:17-20).

Can we wait like dear Mary with feet and heart tired,
or like shepherds befuzzled by all that’s transpired?
Like noblest Joseph can you walk a strange course,
or like far-off magicians seek the bright star’s source?
Can we wait with the angels just waiting to sing
their glorious glorias announcing the king?

Waitfulness looks like all colour of things.
It can chain you to stagnance or grow you some wings.
Eyes that can see and ears that can hear
could turn upside-down all that downside-up fear.
The choice is mysteriously wondrously yours
to open and wait through one of the doors.

Let’s wait with a great expectational joy
For our darkness to drown in the light of a boy.
Let’s wait for the truest, most wonderful fable:
God came as a babe to be born in a stable.
Let’s patiently eagerly actively wait.
It’s surely not easy, but it’s gloriously great!

Joshua Penfold ( can’t be sold or cajoled to fit the mould, but be bold when it’s cold, for his gold—he’s been told—is rolled in a promise from old.

Read more Tales from the Unending Story:
Remembrance, regret, resolution
An enemy of hope
Making it personal
Discovering my dross
False false prophets

(Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge/Unsplash)

Share this page:

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.