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In this Advent season of anticipation, consider this surprising take on waiting from spiritual writer Henri J. M. Nouwen:

"Most of us think of waiting as something very passive, a hopeless state determined by events totally out of our hands. The bus is late? You cannot do anything about it, so you have to sit there and just wait. It is not difficult to understand the irritation people feel when somebody says, 'Just wait.' Words like that seem to push us into passivity.

"But there is none of this passivity in scripture. Those who are waiting are waiting very actively. They know what they are waiting for is growing from the ground on which they are standing.

"That's the secret. The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it....

"Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her." (Henri J. M. Nouwen, "Waiting for God," in The Weavings Reader, Upper Room Books)
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Title Annotation:spirituality cafe
Author:Schlumpf, Heidi
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Previous Article:8 great ways to teach your young kids about God; it doesn't take a theologian to explain the foundations of our faith to the next generation....
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