This is what God Almighty says: "In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory." Haggai 2:6-8
"The kept asking, "What does he mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand what he is saying." John 16:18
Mama said: "We'll see." Mama meant: "Maybe, but probably not." Mama said: "Let's play quiet mouse." Mama meant: "You're talking too much." Mama said: "In a little while." Mama meant - well, like the disciples, I'm not sure what that meant. Mama's reply carried as many meanings as "τόμ ικρόν" had in the first century. No doubt, Haggai's listeners were just as confused by it.
Like the Psalmist, we ask, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?" (Psalm 13:1) "When will the lab results be back?" "When will I ever find a job?" "When can I expect to find love?" In a little while. It's hard to hear. If we knew how long "a little while" is, we could deal with it; we could manage it; we could set a timer. But not knowing means waiting. And waiting means being patient. And being patient in the midst of unknowing is hard to do.
When the disciples were confused, Jesus compared being patient while suffering to a woman in labor. He said sorrow is taken away and anguish ends for the mother looking into the face of her child. The message? God turns our sorrow into joy. How it happens is a mystery, for certain. But, it is a fitting metaphor for Advent. For a little while, we pass this time. Let us make the moments count: filling pregnant hours with waiting, watching, and working for the Kingdom.
O God. Let us hope for you in our waiting; let us seek for you in our watching; let us live for you in our working. And, above all, let us love all, in your name. Amen.