Everything was fine. Everything was straight forward Quite smooth, sleek. Almost glossy. In fact it was downright … ordinary. The time was defined by being “upright”. Strong And those who were strong could hold on to that … well, with strength
And then something changed.
It was as if there was a birth that had happened.
It was as if there was a seed that got dropped into the forest It was as if there was a rip in the curtain that divided the ordinary from the … different
It was as if Advent started.
Walter Brueggemann talks about Advent as “an abrupt disruption in our ‘ordinary time’… an utterly new year, new time, new life. Everything begins again…”
I wonder, if you did a bit of a stock take over the last month, about what things you were spending your time thinking, contemplating and worrying about
I wonder what would come out on top.
I wonder if you stopped on December 23 and did a similar stock take about the things that you spent your time in the month prior to Christmas thinking, contemplating and worrying about, what would come up top?
There will be time dedicated to how to survive the Christmas season.
For some this will mean what on earth do we get for all the people we have to buy for. For some this will mean how do we manage to get through the dinner with family. For some this will mean managing to avoid the shopping malls altogether For some this will mean how we will juggle all the time pressures and demands For some this will mean how do we look across the table at others and keep a sense of self respect because we have been able to provide nothing For some this will mean working out a Christmas that is alone and not much of a celebration
All very ordinary. But Advent is an abrupt disruption in our ‘ordinary time’
Sort of like sitting in a shopping centre for lunch and finding something breaking in
“Advent invites us to awaken from our numbed endurance and our domesticated expectations, to consider our life afresh in light of new gifts that God is about to give”
But the seed that is dropped in to our ordinariness is not just dropped in to the centre of the world around us it is also dropped in to the centre of the world within us:
“God wills for the world…a centre of justice and righteousness that will get our minds off our petty agenda and our desire to protect our little investments. I find that vision overwhelming – and not very welcome, because the things I value most I am reluctant to lose or risk, and even more reluctant to share”
Week one of Advent is about hope. The reading for today from Isaiah may initially look like it would work better with week 2 – peace. But it is not just about the coming of peace:
it is about the possibility for there to be a whole new way of living.
When the seed is dropped into the midst of your life this Advent, can I encourage you to nurture it and let it grow, and not to try to stifle it. Because the birth that comes, may well be the birth of the presence of God