Advent has traditionally been a time of joyous anticipation for me. It really is my kind of celebration, you know you are getting a present, and you know what it is, and when you get to open it! I am not patient, and consequently I have never really engaged in the suspense of Advent. The waiting, the invitation to walk each day without anticipating the fulfillment has not been how I passed these precious weeks.
Like me, most of us, are so caught up in the preparations and celebrations of the season, that the faithful persistent call to wait, to trust, to reflect, is drowned out. We want to rush on to the big day, we long for the awaited Saviour to make his appearance, to save us from our sin, to rescue us from the darkness that engulfs us. Consequently we rush headlong to that day with little pause in our spirits to prepare us.
One of the rediscovered joys of the liturgical calendar for me is the rhythm of a calendar that draws us into seasons of hope and repentance and joy. A liturgical Advent is symbolised by violet (or blue), the colour indicative of fast days, but this is not a traditional fast, this fast is one of hope, of peace, of trust. During Advent, we are asked to walk in the waiting, to enter into the Inter-testamental longing of the Israelites for their Messiah and seek him for ourselves.
What a contrast this is to the hustle and bustle of the world. Where in all the noise and shopping and feasting is there room for reflection, for silence?
This year our little community is mediating through Enuma Okoro’s Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent. We are journeying to Bethlehem in the company of Zechariah and Elizabeth, sitting with them in their waiting, their faithfulness and doubt.
How are you waiting?