Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent: Sit down, Shut Up and Wait

Happy New Year! Happy Advent!

So, we're back to the top of the Christian calendar, Advent- that time of waiting before we again celebrate the coming of God as one of us. So, we wait as people waited over two thousand years ago, but, as our priest pointed out this week, we wait with three Advents in mind. We remember the waiting of the first Advent, the one that ended with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem- the long-expected Messiah. We, also, wait now for the Advent of Jesus into our lives now in the world we live in and the people we live with. We, also, wait for the Advent to come- the coming of Jesus who will come to set this messed up world right.

That's a lot of waiting and, in our highly technological society, that can be quite difficult As a recent article on gratitude I read pointed out, we don't manage waiting well. If our bus or train or plane is late even a few minutes, we become angry at the inconvenience. Why, if our computer takes more than a few seconds to process some massive program, we want to hurl the whole thing, monitor and all, out the window in our rage at the inconvenience of it all!! We rarely do, but, instead, we snarl at whoever has the misfortune of asking what is wrong? That we forget the wonders that our technologies have given us is only a very small part of the problem. The problem really is with time.

So, what is the problem? We often say that there isn't enough time in the day. That is, of course, a lie we tell ourselves. There is enough time, if we could just decide how best to spend it. There are some many things competing for our attention these days- shopping, family obligations, professional obligations, socializing and much, much more. The competitive demands on our time are increasing with the pace of life and, ironically, labour saving devices such as e-mail or computers or the ever-ubitquitious Blackberries don't actually save time, they suck out more time. The price for a little slice of our time keeps going up, but we are so distracted that the value of it is plummeting. Our life is just one big inflationary spiral.

So, Advent. Advent talks about another time in which time spent waiting is time well-spent because it is time waiting what are the most important transformations in human history: the coming of God as man to show us what reality is actually like and how we should live in it, the coming of God into our lives to give us the power and the grace to act on it here and now in this imperfect, in-between time and the promise of another coming of God to permanently return us and this world to the way we were intended to be. What could be more important? What could be more worth our time than to sit down, shut up and wait.


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