How Do We Wait?

Visitation - image by Ailura under CC BY-SA 3.0Advent is a time of awaiting the Lord. But there are many ways in which we can wait.

Zechariah awaited the fulfillment of the angel’s words with confusion and doubt. Yet the Lord delivered on his promise.

Elizabeth awaited expectantly and greeted Mary with hope. And the infant leapt in her womb.

Mary awaited faithfully, pondering and trusting in the angel’s reassurance not to be afraid. And the Lord was with her and within her.

Israel awaited the Messiah, remembering God’s faithfulness through past ages. And the one called Emmanuel came to show that God was with them.

The world today awaits the return of the Lord, living in a mix of light and darkness, yet still believing that, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5).

How do we wait? Whether we wait faithfully and trustingly, or with confusion and puzzlement, or a little bit of both, God still comes to be with us. Like Israel, we can remember how God has been lovingly with us in the past. Like Mary, we can trust humbly and hopefully that God will be with us in the future.

We wait in expectation, noticing the signs of the divine present now in the world around us. Where do we notice glimpses of the light? Who are the angels among us? And what are we pondering in our hearts as we wait?

Image by Ailura under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Marina Berzins McCoy
Marina Berzins McCoy
Marina Berzins McCoy is a professor at Boston College, where she teaches philosophy and in the BC PULSE service-learning program. She is the author of The Ignatian Guide to Forgiveness and Wounded Heroes: Vulnerability as a Virtue in Ancient Greek Philosophy. She and her husband are the parents to two young adults and live in the Boston area.


  1. Deep in waiting!
    I am mostly a Zechariah, waiting with confusion and doubt. (But I am thankful that I am not blasé.) Sometimes I am a Elizabeth, waiting with joy and hope.
    I pray I´d wait like Mary, with Faith and like Joseph, waiting to offer Love and Service to the Mother and Child. (Joseph is my patron saint of Packing — whenever I face the daunting task of packing for long or short trips, I remember Joseph´s pack-up-and-go manner. Then I hit the road, light.)
    Thank you, Marina! A blessed Advent to you and yours!

  2. Thank you for these moving and beautiful Advent reflections. In this one, I particularly appreciate the invitation to ask myself what I ponder as I wait for God. If I am tempted to dwell on my doubts or fears, as I do at times, It helps me to think of how I hope to welcome him, how I want to open the door to his light and rejoice in his presence, thank him for his love and forgiveness, and ask him for opportunities to reflect his love in the world around me.

  3. During Advent, I ponder if I always ready to encounter and welcome the Lord each moment and each day? Here are a few moments that touch my heart: the hope engendered in each dawn, the joy revealed in the sounds of children at play, the gentle warmth of my wife’s hand sliding into my hand while we attend Mass.

  4. Patience has never been one of my strong virtues, but with articles such as these I know help is on the way! Thank you for this ministry.
    May abundant Advent blessings belong to you.


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Loretta Pehanich
Marina Berzins McCoy
Tim Muldoon