Family Liturgies

James 5: Creative Waiting

by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller

Scripture: James 5:7-10
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Memory Verse: James 5:7
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.


Reflection on Scripture
Waiting with a toddler takes patience, creativity, and a bit of stamina. Wherever we go, I have my daughter’s bag packed with books, toys, and snacks. Anything that will help pass the time. Anything that will keep her focused and out of trouble. Or at least keep her from melting down. As a parent I’m learning all kinds of tricks for passing the time. Songs. Games. Pointing to body parts. Counting. Inevitably, many times we don’t need all the things that I packed and we can keep busy with what surrounds us and what we can see with our eyes. We wait but we do it actively and busily!  

And since it’s Advent, I’ve been thinking about waiting a lot.

Waiting with my daughter.

My own waiting.

How I’m growing in patience.

My patience is tested and tried plenty with my daughter. And with life in general. I lose my temper. I cry, too, and want to flail my arms wildly. I fear for the future. I feel overwhelmed with how to respond to such need in my own home and in the world. But I take deep breaths and I wait.

I’m learning patience along with my daughter. I wonder: could this be the way to Christmas? This creative waiting? This patient, active waiting? This peaceful than tantrum-filled waiting from one moment to the next? Can I learn to wait patiently with my daughter and know that I’m learning to wait for Christ?

Everyday provides so many opportunities for waiting. This Advent I’m practicing an active waiting. Thanks to my daughter I know there are things that I can bring along to help me in my waiting. Things like a deep breath. Love towards my neighbor. A smile. A good book. And plenty of snacks for the journey. Every act of waiting can be a holy time, an encounter with the divine, and a reminder of the gift of Christ waiting for us.       

Questions to Spark Discussion
*Talk about a time that you had to wait for something or someone. How did it feel?

*If you know you’re going to have to wait, what do you like to bring along to pass the time?

*What do you think Mary and Joseph talked about as they were waiting for their son to be born?

Spiritual Practice
When you go somewhere as a family (whether the grocery store, shopping, an appointment) don’t plan to bring anything extra with you. Be fully present to those who are with you. If you’re waiting in lines, smile and talk to those in line with you. Practice being patient. Smile more. Take deep breaths together.

Closing Prayer
Holy Lord,
as we wait and wonder this Advent,
be with us. Inspire us. Fill us.
As we strive for patience and peace,
send us your patience and love
to fill our lives.
Help us to see your light wherever we go.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of a toddler, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Missouri. Her website is:


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