A little like some guests may do, they showed up a bit early. For the intention was to give them out on St. Nicholas Day, December 6. When they were delivered to my office last Tuesday, however, plans quickly shifted. Because the last thing you ever want to do is to put the “pears” into “perishable” fruit.
I get it, of course. And given the current conditions on shipping (and even people being allowed to show up for work in some places), the company out in Oregon was right to send them on when they did, no matter what the order might have said. What’s more, for the pears to reach the peak of their perfection they will no doubt have to ripen at room temperature for at least another week or so anyway before they become both squishy and “delicioushy.”
But it does remind me that in the end, we’re not really in control of much of life, no matter how much we may have thought we were. We can carefully make our plans and schedules, but pears will ripen when they do. Deliveries will arrive whenever they make it past the postal obstacle course. And God will work in our lives according to His own timing, not ours.
The ancient Hebrews understood this, I think. For centuries, in fact, they waited for the promise of God on whom the Spirit of the Lord would rest, that shoot that came up from the stump of Jesse, as Isaiah called Him. Out of Bethlehem Ephrathah, so Micah suggested. Or as a hymnist was to put it centuries later: “O come, o come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”
And that’s the point of Advent, in fact. For in the end, Advent is a season of waiting. Not just for Christmas, mind you, but waiting for the darkness to end, and the Light to appear. Waiting for the end of all of our uncertainties and anxieties, and for the world to be made right once more. In short, waiting, hoping, and eagerly looking for the Messiah.
A box of fruit, of course, is not exactly what anyone has long been longing for. But perhaps it is a reminder that early or late, good things are always worth the wait. You might even call it a “pear-able” that can point us back to that unwavering and wonderful truth.