Afta’While (Newsletter)

Dear Friends,

        Some of my favorite childhood memories remain with me as gifts from family visits to my maternal grandparents’ home in Montgomery, AL. I will never forget the chaos of cousins running everywhere, the rich, steamy sweetness of Grandmama’s kitchen and the feel of icy air from the window unit in the dining room washing over my face on a hot summer afternoon. The quirky little things that my grandparents used to say are treasures, as well. One of Grandmama’s stock phrases was, “After a while,” which invariably came out as, Afta’while.

         “When will John, Doug and Eddie (our cousins) get here?” we would plead.

         Afta’while, Grandmama would answer very calmly.

         “When will that cake be ready?”


         “When will Mom and Aunt Margie be back from shopping?”


         “When . . . when  . . . when?”

         Afta’while, honey…

         My grandparents grew up in LA (Lower Alabama) in the early 1900’s when most things came about “after a while.” Rushing about was saved for the big things like house fires, escaping snakes and swarms of yellow jackets, and the occasional rabid dog or raccoon. It seems to me that folks in their generation may have been the last who knew how to wait patiently. In today’s world, if it doesn’t happen at the flip of a switch or the click of a mouse, then the wait often feels too long. So, when the language of faith says that God will act in God’s own time – that God will act “after a while” – we chafe and squirm and chomp at the bit.

        Peter reminds us that God’s apparent delays are not about making us wait, but evidence of God’s patience with us. “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day…Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace.” (2Peter 3:8&14)

         This Advent, may we enter this time of waiting grateful that God does not rush us into things. God patiently waits for us to be ready to receive fully the good news of the coming of the Christ. And as the now risen Christ does his work, bit by bit, may we realize and rejoice that it is not because God is slow about saving us, but that God truly seems to want us to experience the kingdom here and now as well as in the age to come.

         Yes, Christmas is coming. So is the fullness of God’s kingdom.

         So hang on. They’ll be here.




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