so Henri Nouwen is pretty much THE MAN.
[from Watch for the Light, a collection of readings on Advent]
"Waiting is open ended. Open-ended waiting is hard for us because we tend to wait for something very concrete, for something that we wish to have. Much of our waiting is filled with wishes. We are full of wishes, and our waiting easliy gets entangled in those wishes. For this reason a lot of our waiting is not open-ended. Instead, our waiting is a way of controlling the future. We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are dissapointed and can even slip into despair. That is why we have such a hard time waiting: we want to do the things that will make the desired events take place.
But Zechariah, Elizabeth and mary were not filled with wishes. They were filled with hope. Hope is something very different. Hope is trusting that something will be fulfilled, but fulfilled according to the promises adn not just according to our wishes. Therefore, hope is always open-ended.
i have found very important in my own life to let go of my wishes and start hoping. it was only when i was willing to let go of wishes that something really new, something beyond my own expectations could happen to me. Just imagine what mary was actually saying in the words 'i am the handmaid of the Lord...let what you have said be done to me" (luke 1:38). She was saying "i don't know what this means, but i trust that good things will happen.'"
and then Jesus was born. Holy heck. amazing!