Advent - Warming Up
I left a hint on
Frances’ desk yesterday - well it was not really so subtle as a hint.
You see those frightfully nice Amazon people had sent me a mail pointing
out that a book that I might like for Christmas was available right now
at a deeply discounted price and if I rushed, if I got in before the end
of next week I could save percents of money and it would be in the bag.
Yet here we are only in the first days of December, at the very
beginning of Advent - advent from the Latin adventus which means coming.
At the beginning of a four week period of reflection and preparation.
We are not it seems to me encouraged today to be patient, we live very
much in the “Now” society and things are becoming more and more like
that. The pace of life they say is increasing.
I remember once as a child being ill in bed, I must have been very ill
for my mother would send us to school under most afflictions and in the
rare event that we were quarantined at home then we would be sent
outside to gather in the coal or do other chores to keep us occupied.
Anyway on this occasion suddenly brought to my bedside was a mysterious
green Bakelite box with a dial on the front. This was new to me and ever
since I have been an unswerving fan of the wireless. But you had to be
watchful for if you wanted to catch an episode of “Round the Horn” or
the “Navy Lark” say, then you had to switch on ten minutes or so before
to allow the thing to “warm-up”. This was quite normal, and sure enough
after much humming and buzzing the comforting tones of the BBC Home
service would eventually break through. Now I don’t remember being
alarmed at this need for preparation, nor getting impatient with it but
try telling my children about warming up. Unthinkable, they are stabbing
the radio buttons before even the car doors are closed.
The speed of life is infectious it rubs off, we need everything now - I
am far from immune, my computer takes an age to log on “ What on earth
is it doing? -Why doesn’t’ it just get on with it? Who put all this
software on it anyway - I have got a sermon to write !!”
Whoa - hold on let’s pause a moment- Advent is different, there is no
rush, no hurry no NOW but a period of measured waiting - a waiting not
of idleness but of preparation.
Isaiah knew about waiting, Old Testament time was long, the prophets
would look far into the future even to the last days and then reveal the
words they had received from God about them. Our Gospel reading too
speaks of our keeping alert awake for the end of days. But how do we
wait for God? Surely this is to be more than the passive waiting for a
bus, for what we are waiting for is extraordinary:
“O that you would tear open the heavens and come down so the mountains
would quake at your presence -“
And greater yet we are waiting for the coming of Jesus himself. In our
communion/Eucharistic prayers we will join in saying together:
Christ HAS died
Christ IS risen
Christ WILL come again.
So perhaps in this hurry hurry, now now world, to give meaning to our
belief that Jesus will return we need to relearn how to wait. We might
start by recognising and treasuring those times in our daily lives when
things are not instant when we have to wait whether for the computer to
log on, our turn in a queue or for Mum’s radio to warm up and to let
those moments remind us of the bigger waiting we are engaged in.
And so let us pause to pray
Father teach us to wait well
Teach us to be joyfully expectant
To be patient
To prepare for you and
To look for you always.
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