A waiting room: somewhere set apart to wait in quiet, away from the noise of the platform, warm away from the drafts that go with stations. Waiting for the train, we may find ourselves constantly checking the clock or the departure board, hoping for no delay, no missed connection. Other waiting rooms may be at the doctor’s or dentist’s surgery.
Perhaps here we wait with more apprehension: what will be the outcome? Will we be reassured or find our fears realised? Will we find healing?
There are many other times in the day when in small ways we find ourselves waiting: waiting for the kettle to boil, for a companion to arrive, for a toilet to become vacant, for a traffic light to turn green. Are these times of frustration or boredom? But equally how often do we think, If only I could just stop for five minutes, or I just need a minute’s break? Why not use those occasions when you are forced to wait as time to rest, to clear your mind, to pray?
We are looking from one room to another, with a corridor in between. The first room is a kitchen or scullery – a mop and a towel suggest domestic tasks. The room beyond is more refined. A set of keys suggests a desire to protect the security of this room. On the table is an open book. By it is a large candle now extinguished; maybe the book was being read in the early hours before day break. There is an atmosphere of tranquility and peace about this scene, as well as a sense of patient waiting. Is the room waiting for the reader to return to the book?
The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ … Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
Can we find words to treasure and ponder whilst we wait this Advent?