Hiew Peng Wong is the associate director of international content in the Global Communications division of Habitat for Humanity International, based out of Singapore. Read her Advent reflection below:
Patience is not my middle name. As I read about how Simeon and Anna waited for Christ, I wondered about my own reaction if I were in their shoes. If I had met the Savior, I would not have echoed Simeon’s wish to die in peace, nor would I have been so prompt as Anna to boldly speak of the Lord.
Since both of them were very old when they encountered the infant Jesus, it may appear that they merely waited as the decades went by. But the Holy Spirit was at work, coming upon Simeon, revealing things to him and guiding him to the temple where Joseph and Mary had brought the baby. Anna, who never left the temple and fasted and prayed night and day, was ready to meet Jesus. These two believers were actively anticipating the arrival of Christ. This gives new meaning to “waiting on God."
When we consider Habitat for Humanity’s vision, we realize it could seem like a long, long way off. Just as potential supporters may feel overwhelmed by the world’s housing needs, we may feel our efforts are minuscule.
However, it makes a world of difference when we wait on the Lord to achieve His purpose. We celebrate each family whose lives are transformed because of Habitat’s work. However, we are not like the boy/girl/man/woman in the much-adapted story who threw starfish into the ocean, hoping to make a difference for individual creatures. Our desire to glorify God is even greater, and that is the source of our joy. We are the Simeons and Annas who wait for God’s consolation and eagerly anticipate His salvation. The Bible does not say whether their paths ever crossed again having met and even held the infant Jesus. Simeon was ready to die in peace, and Anna could not wait to talk about Jesus to all who were waiting for redemption.
What about you and me? While waiting expectantly for Christ to return, we can humbly ask God to do His work through us. We seek to draw nearer to a world where everyone has a decent place to live — though that vision may not be realized in our lifetime. May the Lord make us devout — in Greek, the word means something like “firmly clinging to” — as we wait for His fulfillment. For each life that is transformed through safe, decent and affordable housing, let us give thanks to and praise God.
God of patience and consolation, grant us like-mindedness according to Christ Jesus as we seek to be Your hands and feet on earth, so that with one voice we may glorify the Lord. Amen.