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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 do 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 lets 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. 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:

“He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

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.

Amen

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