The Crowd: Hopeful Waiting (Advent)
There is something about the 4th quarter of a basketball game that drums up all sorts of feelings.
- There is excitement at the challenge seeing a lead shrink or grow.
- There is stress to get back in the game or to keep it in your favor.
- There is urgency knowing each second is closer to the final buzzer.
- There is pride from the extra effort and focus required.
- There is hope that your team will do enough to achieve the win.
The 4th quarter also unlocks new levels of being for everyone in the gym.
- The crowd cheers a little louder and groans a little deeper as each play moves toward the finish.
- Officials sharpen their focus as each play, and each call, carries extra weight.
- Coaches find their groove as the previous 3 quarters have revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent.
- Players enter “flow” as their mind, body, team, and the game all become one.
At every level of basketball, the crowd has the ability to significantly impact the game.
Envision a youth basketball game where the crowd virtually dictates every action of the players: “SHOOT IT!” “PASS THE BALL!” “REBOUND!” “STEAL THE BALL!” “THAT’S A FOUL REF!”
Imagine a packed high school gym or college stadium. “Home court advantage” is a phrase for a reason.
A great basketball environment heavily leans on how engaged and vibrant the crowd is. A great crowd is personally invested in the process and outcome of the game.
Now, add the 4th quarter of a close game in a rivalry matchup…
The crowd sitting on the edge of their seat – waiting for a play to bring them collectively to their feet with a roar so loud it might nearly break the sound decibel limits.
A crowd with this sort of expectant-anticipation will likely play a huge role in how the players play and possibly the outcome of the game.
What is the crowd ultimately hoping for? A win of course!
A great home-court basketball crowd is a vivid picture of what it looks like when a large group is on the same page – cheering, working, and hoping for the same thing – THE WIN.
In one form or another we, humanity, are in a perpetual state of waiting.
- Waiting for the economy to improve.
- Waiting for cancer to be cured.
- Waiting for the environment to improve or implode.
- Waiting for peace.
And just like a buzzing basketball crowd in the 4th quarter, the crowd of humanity is waiting and hoping for a win – a positive outcome for whatever pressing (4th quarter) issue is at hand.
The Bible is no stranger to this idea of waiting and hoping. In fact, Christian tradition celebrates a season called “Advent” which highlights the expectant/hopeful waiting of the arrival of the Messiah.
Advent is typically celebrated at the end of the 4th Quarter of the year (December), and represents the waiting for the arrival of Jesus, celebrated as Christmas (the timing of Jesus’s historical birth is widely agreed it wasn’t actually in December, but the idea of hopeful-waiting still stands).
The idea of hopeful waiting is something we can all understand.
For followers of Christ, the Advent season allows us to celebrate Jesus’s birth as the Servant King Savior – and also reminds us of a continued hopeful-waiting for when the Divine promise is fulfilled;
“…Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:3-5 (ESV)
So the question is – what are you waiting for?
Are you waiting for circumstances to change?
Are you engaged and invested in the process and outcome?
What is your hope in? A temporary win? Or an ETERNAL newness?
So, whatever your hopeful waiting looks like right now, consider the Divine promise, through Jesus, that one day all things will be made new. We encourage you to place your trust, and hopeful waiting, in Jesus as He has NEVER failed to fulfill His promises and He will WIN in the end – even if it’s in ways we do not understand or expect.
Consider joining the “4th Quarter Sprint” fundraising campaign to support the international basketball ministry of News Release Basketball.