The God Who Waits


Advent is a season of waiting:
for calendar chocolates, promised presents, Santa’s steps.
Advent is a season of longing:
for life, and light, and hope beyond this world. 
In Advent, we think we are the ones who are waiting. 
But I think of the annunciation,
in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Italian colours: 
Mary is surprised, her left hand curled into a question mark,
but it is Gabriel’s head that is bowed low,
The Archangel holding his breath for her answer. 
All heaven was waiting on a human word
before the Word would be made human. 
Before God became incarnate,
God waited for human assent. 
God was in the waiting,
the liminal moment when heaven held its breath. 
I wonder about the waiting; 
As my body groans and yearns for an eternal home,
the pulling of my soul towards heaven;
Could it be that God is waiting for my words—
Could it be that God’s soul is pulling too? 
Tanya Marlow
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Tanya Marlow

Writer at Thorns and Gold
Tanya Marlow was in Christian ministry for a decade and a lecturer in Biblical Theology. Then she got sick, and became a writer. She loves writing honestly about finding God in hard places at She also loves belting out songs without knowing the words. She is the author of Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty, using the biblical book of Ruth as a path back from disappointment, which you can download for FREE here.
Tanya Marlow
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  • Terri

    This is achingly beautiful. The archangel holding his breath…I want to hold that image. Thank you for sharing your heart and your insight, this is a treasure to keep.

    • Thank you so much for this encouraging comment, Terri!

  • Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk

    Oh, I love this. Thankyou. I will surely be sharing 🙂

    • I’m so glad you love it! There’s something about Advent that makes me turn to poetry

  • This is beautiful, Tanya. Thank you for sharing.

  • I love the image that heavenly hosts are beings full of anticipation and participation….that we are not the only ones waiting. Thank you for making the Christmas story fuller! I appreciated reading this today.

    • I’m so glad that image resonated with you! I’m writing an Advent book, so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently on the Christmas story!

  • Thank you for this offering, Tanya. Have you read Denise Levertov’s “Annunciation”? It hits on many of the same themes.

    • Thanks, Ashley! And no, I haven’t! Will have to look it up. Thanks for the recommendation

  • I love this.

  • Oh, Tanya, what insightful words! I wonder how often God patiently waits for us while we wrestle with decisions and put off sometimes what we know to do. May we learn to wait patiently whether the waiting is forced or caused by our own choices. Thank you, Tanya, for your beautiful poem.

    • Thanks, Gayl – I love your wise reflections here