To Wait: What Emojis Say About Waiting [Advent]

Language is always evolving. As society changes and grows, our lexicon expands to cover new topics, ideas, and concepts. Some recent examples: photobomb, grammable, or jeggings. At the end of the day, there is no 'right' way to communicate. Language is simply sounds and symbols that are understood by both parties in order to share a message. 

This year, Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year is an emoji. It's one of my personal favs, the pictograph officially called "Face with Tears of Joy." Since I am exploring the concept of waiting in different languages this year for Advent, today's post features Emojis. Hey, if Oxford can do it, so can we!

What emoji do you use when you're waiting on someone? Maybe the fear and trembling emojis if you're worried something's happened? Maybe the mad and blowing steam one if you're angry? Maybe the elderly woman if you're growing old? Maybe the poop emoji because waiting stinks? Or maybe the praying emoji if you're holy like that?

I don't believe I have a specific emoji on my phone for waiting, although a quick Google search suggests there are some. But a recent experience made me think about emojis and technology and waiting in a new way.

I was actually waiting in the checkout line, minding my own business and checking out Pez dispensers in the shapes of Frozen characters when I missed something really important. I was reflecting on the situation later with my mom, and I heard myself say, "You know, I was waiting. So I was distracting myself."

Distracting ourselves.

Of course emojis allow us to communicate. (And they can be lifesavers in bilingual group texts when I'm never quite certain what is going on. Insert: Pizza Slice, Running Man, Smiling with a Halo) But emojis and texting and Facebooking and pinning and gramming and all the rest can also of course be ways to distract ourselves.

How do you prepare for something as significant as the Christmas story? I'm asking, but I don't have a pat answer for that question. I read something recently about taking time to lay on the floor and gaze at your Christmas tree. Taking a moment to reflect on God's entrance into the human world.

And honestly, I haven't made time for anything remotely like that. And maybe the idea of being fully present in the waiting isn't all that appealing. I'd rather find something amusing or fun or social to do while I wait. Something that helps the time go by. Something distracting.

So maybe the next time I'm pairing a cup of coffee with bulging heart eyes, I can stop for just a minute. Focus. Pay attention. Look around with eyes open to seeing God's presence in the moment.

Maybe emojis can remind us to listen to the sounds and take in the images that God uses to communicate with us.

What sights and symbols focus your waiting attention on Christ? 

Posts in this year's Advent series:
Week 1: Sign Language
Week 2: French
Week 3: Emojis
Week 4: Spanish

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