A Meditation for Advent
Next Sunday, 1 December, is the beginning of the Season of Advent, the beginning of the Church’s year as it prepares for Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Purple is the colour of hope, expectation and repentance. The Advent wreath is the sign of time and eternity. We prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus in history two thousand years ago. We look forward to his coming at “the end of time”. And we reflect on the fact that “the end of time” is now. Every moment of every day is the end of that time. This Advent we begin Year A of the cycle of readings in the gospels with the gospel of Matthew being presented Sunday by Sunday. It will have a special resonance as we begin a special year devoted to “The God Who Speaks” through the scriptures and to our hearts. Copies of the gospel are available for distribution in parishes throughout the Diocese. The following meditation may help focus our thoughts during this season of waiting and hoping and praying.
We live in a world where we are directed to the “instant”. We communicate instantly by email and iphone. Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media give us instant access. We drink instant coffee. We eat fast food meals. We shop on the internet for next day delivery. We withdraw money instantly from a “hole in the wall”. The media give us instant news. Is it any wonder we do not like to wait? “Take the waiting out of wanting”.
And yet… So much of our time is spent waiting. For the bus or train. For the delivery or repair man. For the doctor or the hospital appointment. For news of a loved one. We check our watch in frustration at the delay.
But… Supposing we waited with our hands and hearts open to what God is saying. Waited, conscious of our emptiness and need? Waited in the grace of the present moment. Waited without an agenda.
Advent is about waiting. We wait with the People of God as we move through sacred history. We wait with Mary as she expects the Son of God. We wait with the poor for whom waiting is a way of life. The waiting asks us to empty ourselves that we may be filled with God. It asks that we flourish at God’s rhythm, not our own.
We are an Advent people, Waiting for God to manifest himself in our lives. Advent encourages us to allow our hidden hopes and desires to lead us beyond our daily existence.
The people of the Old Testament were, more than any others, the Advent people. They lived in hope and prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah brought them back constantly to this promised hope when spirits flagged. He urged them always to trust in God… And wait.