Advent Week 3 – December 13, 2022

The Wisdom of Advent – Learning to Wait

Week 3: Joy.

It can be hard to find joy when we’re in a long season of waiting. Bonhoeffer offers a shift in perspective and characterizes this difficulty as an “austere blessedness,” reminding us that waiting is inevitable for the greatest, most profound things in the world. He says, “Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without – will never experience the full blessings of fulfillment.”1

Sometimes recognizing and admitting that we’re in “the austere blessedness of waiting” paradoxically makes it easier to bear. Unfortunately, denying what we’re feeling doesn’t make the situation any easier. Admitting that we’re struggling, even if we know it won’t last forever, is the first step in bringing ourselves some joy as we wait. Maybe one aspect of the “austere blessedness of waiting” is the ability to hold small moments of joy along with the more challenging feelings of waiting.

  • What are you actually feeling right now?
  • Does recognizing what you’re feeling give you more space to breathe?
  • Does it make you feel that finding a moment of joy, even if it’s sandwiched between some austere waiting times, is possible?


1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger, 4.


  1. “ability to hold small moments of joy along with the more challenging feelings of waiting” – agree! I have come to know that I don’t have to (and in fact can’t) “manufacture” a sense of hope but that God can and will provide that. And, most amazingly, at times even in the midst of turmoil. Not often is it provided exactly when I ask, but always when I need it, and sometimes even when I forget to ask.

    Thanks for your Advent series of blogs, it has enriched my journey to Christmas this year.


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