There is no better time to enter into waiting than at Advent. It is, by nature, a season in which we wait for the incarnation of God in our midst.
Whilst those in the time of Christ imagined his coming to be filled with great splendour and power, Jesus was actually born into poverty. His family was a migrant family. There was no palatial reception, no triumphal entrance, but only a little boy born in a manger.
We, then, should know better how to wait because we have the Gospels as an example, we have his words to resonate, and we have his examples of poverty and obedience as our guide.
What we are asked to do this season is wait, not to wait without prayer or thinking about what we are waiting for, but to wait in the light of the Gospel. That is, to stand in confidence before the Son of Man.
We are confident in such an awesome place only if we we are doing all that we can to live by his precepts. To fail is okay, as long as we try, as long as we commit ourselves to God’s love, to his grace.
It is easy to look upon the Christmas story with Rose tinted spectacles and enter into the wrong kind of waiting. We are not looking for some kind of seasonal warmth or sentimentality, but for a glorious message that we all need to hear: God is made man among us. The shepherds were an uncouth group of outcasts; the stable was an inhospitable place; such a birth would have been difficult; the Holy family then had to flee for their lives. So, let us not reduce it to a simple sentimental tradition. No, we are only to think, for now, that God was made man among us, and we are part of that story. Let us spend Advent invested in the biblical narrative in our readings, and invested also in prayer, that we may be ready when our Good Lord comes again.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Glory to you, O Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’
‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.