Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent waiting

Waiting is not a concept much in evidence. And more especially as the Christmas adverts dominate our screens, with their promises of have it now and pay for it later. Fast food, instant downloads, speed dating and instant dieting, do not encourage a culture of patience nor gratitude.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. In the lovely advent book of readings by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, called God is in the manger, we are reminded of the necessity and value of waiting,
Through all the Advents of our life that we celebrate runs the longing for the last Advent when the word will be , 'See, I am making all things new' (Rev 21.5)
The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. 
I'm not sure that I have seen this so clearly before. Sure, there is much that God has promised us in this life, but it's folly to expect heaven on earth. Sad to say that us Christians (and many Christian groups I suspect), swing from one extreme to the other. Either never expecting God to intervene in life's affairs at one end, or anticipating daily miracles of healing, advantageous circumstances and wealth at the other.

Yep, waiting is built into this fallen world. Waiting for that answered prayer, that perfect job, that ideal spouse, that perfect church and on and on. But waiting keeps us dependant and expectant at one and the same time.

They that wait on the Lord shall indeed renew their strength (Isaiah 40.31)
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