"I'll wait." It was a hard answer to hear from a teenager whose parents had both died from AIDS, and then passed it along to their only child, their daughter.
Daiana was the girl we were talking to, and we didn't know the stark reality of this Dominican teenager when we asked her, "What are you going to do after you finish school?"
She couldn't dream any further in life because she was uncertain if her life would last that long. She didn't dare dream of a career because she didn't want to be let down. All she could do was wait for some holistic treatment to the infection in hope that one day she could dream. She was waiting for the resources that could take her to a place for proper treatment, or someone to give her a sign of hope.
Waiting to dream. Sadly, for many of our sisters and brothers in Christ, this is the reality of life.
The people of Israel were waiting, thousands of years, to be freed from oppression, waiting for a savior to offer them some hope--though probably not the message of hope they expected.
Advent is a season of waiting, and for our society which is used to instant gratification, sometimes the message of this season is lost on us.
Let us not forget (and often we do) that though many of us are afforded the luxury of not waiting, or getting what we want fairly quickly, there are many who still live in a perpetual cycle of waiting: waiting to see if they have enough to go to the doctor, waiting to see if that food pantry will give them enough to put a plate on the food for their children, waiting for the day when they won't have to worry about the simple things; waiting for the day, like Daiana, where they could dream for a better life.
In this season of waiting, with the coming of the Christ-child, let us remember that we are called to action: to be an answer to those who are waiting--waiting for care, waiting for hope, waiting for the hands and feet of Christ to start moving.
As we enter into 2014, as a conference, let us remember who Christ called us to be.
Blessings on you, your family, and your church. Merry Christmas!
Rev. Matt Lacey
Director of Mission and Advocacy, North Alabama Conference