theunfamiliarname

Preparing for Advent Sunday C

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2009 at 11:01 pm

“…all the promises we made
from the cradle to the grave…
when
all
I want
is you”.

That seems to me very peculiarly the message of Advent.
We wrap it up in symbolism and sentiment,
but Advent has been always about
longing.
And about trying to quantify that longing.

About longing, as the song says, for
a river in a time of dryness,
a harbour in the tempest,
a highway with no-one on it
.
We long for what we do not have.
We speak about what we long for in metaphor and simile.

In Church, we light candles and we say
“Come Emmanuel”.

Do we know what we are inviting and invoking?
Often not, I suspect.
Our longings are unformed, or oddly nuanced.
We make deals with God.
Or with something that seemed like God at the time.
This or that and not the other.

But Advent is put here in the Church’s year specifically to remind us
that after
“all the promises we made
from the cradle to the grave…”
that
“all I want is you”.

God is the centre of all our longing.
And Advent is about naming that absence.
Our faith is actually about, at some level, absence.

We long for God, we need God, we wait for God.

We wait for God.
That is our task in Advent.

Advent is a penitential season.
The juxtaposition of the richest colour, purple,
tells us that Advent is like Lent, a season of fasting.

But this is a season of fasting in a time of luxury.
Look around you,
at your invitations
to parties and break-ups
and tell me it’s not so…

Yet this is also a time of luxury in a season of fasting.
For alone among the voices in this crazy time of year,
is that of the Church
telling you to pay attention to you and your expectation,
to grant yourself the luxury of being a pilgrim:
going on a journey and being explicitly aware of that.

You and the journey are the central elements of Advent,
not just some late December destination.

Advent demands
your expectation take centre stage.
What is it you long for?
Advent gives us the gift
of looking towards a beginning and an end –
because in this great season of the Church we look to Bethlehem,
but also to the end of time –
and in all of that we understand that we are pilgrims on a journey.
To be aware of that journey is the gift of Advent.
To be in touch with our expectations and misgivings about the journey.
To find the gaps in our lives that The Warehouse wants to fill in
and to live with them as something given by God.
That is Advent.

To examine our own living, in this stressful, busy season,
and to be given the luxury of self-reflection,
that is Advent.

To be forced to question all our comfortable assumptions about us
and God
and what really matters.
That is Advent.

“all the promises we made
from the cradle to the grave…
when all I want is you”

That is Advent.

The time when we adjust priorities,
and try to reconnect with what was really,
once upon a then and future time, important.

This Advent season,
may we rediscover what we really want.

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  1. Amen.
    Our deep longing can only be fulfilled by God, who made us and knows exactly what we are made for. Our life journey is a preparation – preparing for Christ Jesus’ coming again.
    May the Lord open our eyes to see the path He guides us, strenthen us to walk on the journey He leads us and have mercy on us so that we may be faithful unto the eternity.
    Priscilla Fan

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