I wonder if there’s a way to measure anxiety during circumstances where the only available ‘activity’ is waiting. Would it be measured in BTU’s, watts, ergs, calories . . .? You know, in the OR waiting room as a loved one undergoes a delicate, hours-long surgical procedure, or when a family member is missing at sea or in the mountains, or a natural disaster occurs and people are trapped under building debris after an earthquake or as happened in 2010 in a coal mine in Chile. What I do know, is when the surgeon gives a hearty thumbs up, or the rescue squad phones with good news, or when the buried-alive are set free, the screaming, blubbing jubilation is loud, boisterous, undignified, unrelenting! That eruption of uncontained emotion is long pent-up joy. The length of the wait, the degree to which the situation is precarious, the dismal, initial prospect of a happy ending, combine to guarantee a corresponding, equally intense response.
How about receiving news of a Deliverer, then passing along the wait to generation after generation for seven whole centuries! 700 years! Like, if our ancestors had gotten a good news message in the year 1321, and we, today, in 2021, were still waiting! There would most certainly be those who had long since abandoned any thought of anything good ever happening. Others, perhaps, would kinda sorta hope, but in a non-committal, non-sleepless way. Still others, a remnant maybe, would continue to cling with muscled clinging to the long ago promise. Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth, and his fiancée, Mary, were two of the latter – believing in faith for the arrival of the Promised One. In their souls, they carried (were being carried by?) the accumulated hopes and dreams of their people. Out of all the iterations of the ‘who’ and ‘how’ and ‘when’ of Isaiah’s prophecy, the one version neither of them had, or could have, imagined, was their own personal, life-altering, front-and-center role. But they were soul-anchored by the prayer-filled pleadings and longings of the centuries and these were now part of their DNA, inseparable, undeniable. The news brought to them by the Angel visits brought their burdensome, ever-darkening situation close to the breaking point. But God! By His grace we, too, will see the light of life shine again tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD