One of the fundamental elements of Advent is waiting which at the same time is hoping. Advent thus expresses the essence of Christian chronology and the essence of history as such. Jesus has illustrated this in many parables: in the story of the servants who wait for the return of their master or else, forget about his return and act as though they were the owners; in the tale about the virgins who are able or unable to wait for the groom; and in the parables of seedtime and harvest. Man throughout his life is in a state of waiting; that man is in a state of waiting never becomes clearer than in times of illness.
And in the same sense waiting becomes an unbearable burden when it remains entirely uncertain whether we may expect anything at all. And yet, if time itself contains a meaning, if each moment hides its specific quality and value, then the joyful expectation of greater things to come will make the present time even more precious and carry us, as if with invisible power, through all the moments of our time.
To offer us precisely this kind of waiting is the purpose of Advent; it represents the genuine Christian form of waiting and hoping. For the gifts of Jesus Christ do not merely reside in the future but indeed extend into the present. He, though hidden, dwells here already. He speaks to me in manifold ways – through Sacred Scripture, through the Church seasons, through the saints, through various events in everyday life, through all of creation, which takes on a different appearance when he is standing behind it rather than being shrouded in the fog of a dubious origin and a dubious destiny. I can talk to him; I can wail before him and offer him my sufferings, my impatience, my questions, knowing that he is lending me an open ear.
From: Lich, das uns leuchet, pp. 16ff.