How many of you, when asked, ‘How are you doing?’ have replied, ‘I‘m just waiting for this year to end.’ In 2020, we have experienced a pandemic like none we have ever seen, political turmoil like never before, an economic shutdown like…well, you get the picture! For many of us, 2021 cannot come soon enough.
For those of us who are Christians, the New Year comes a few weeks earlier – the new liturgical year that starts with Advent, a season of desire. Rarely have many of us desired more the new breath of fresh air that a New Year can bring.
Preparing for the coming of the Saviour King is part of our faith in God. Giving space and place in our hearts for the one who can set us free. Giving time in prayer to put aside the constant business of life. Putting down the phone and taking our eyes off the screen, so that we can allow ourselves to contemplate.
We have been challenged by the pandemic. It caught us unawares, we were not prepared for it and it has unsettled us all. Now we have a chance to reflect during this time of lockdown, to make ready for His coming, and ask him to rescue us once again. Despite the uncertainty, we can and should prepare, just as the nursing staff are preparing for those who may suffer from Covid. We remember those who are grieving for loved ones, those who have been caught by the bug, we pray for families who live in hope that they may recover.
Advent reminds us that we have to wait for God. We cannot grasp God, possess, or control Him, we can only wait for him to let himself be known, when we wait for God our waiting is in prayer.“ Come Lord Jesus Come!!”
‘Stay awake’ is a rallying call – we know our own weakness and can easily fall into our own sense of missed opportunities, but this is a self-defeating blame game. For the Lord is always searching for us and giving us a chance of a fresh start.
The Advent readings invite us to recall our own faith history. We must stay awake and alert to the call in the midst of our society and be willing to help others who may be struggling with their own preoccupations. Waiting in hope is more than ever the Advent theme. The grace of God often catches us at the moments when we are most in need.
When grace comes to us in this way, things may not be outwardly any better, but we know that God has touched us and that our time of waiting in hope has not been in vain. And, we thank the Lord for his love and mercy towards us.