December 3, 2017
The Christmas Season is a wonderful time of year. All around us people hustle about with a sense of excitement that they may not have during other parts of the year. In our Sacred spaces the Season doesn’t begin with Christmas, it begins with a time called Advent and as we find ourselves here again, hopefully we do so wide-eyed and ready to experience all that the Season has in store for us.
During Advent we are called first to prepare for the coming Christ. One way we prepare is by getting a room ready and in terms of getting rooms or our traveled spaces prepared, I would say we are pretty proficient. From shopping centers to our homes, preparation is either complete or well underway, and that is a great thing. Our levels of excitement seemed to grow exponentially when we enter this preparation phase, and again that is a great thing.
There is a second part of Advent, though, and it comes after the preparation for Advent calls us to wait. Now I don’t know about you, but I confess there are times when I can’t stand having to wait. It seems I can get wrapped up in this instant fix, instant gratification society just like anyone else that I start to believe we are wired in such a way that waiting is foreign to our very essence. The truth, though, is that waiting is something our species has done rather successfully since the beginning of time and Advent is a season partly meant to remind us that waiting is built into the very fabric of our existence.
Take agriculture for instance. In today’s scripture we read about learning lessons from the Fig Tree, and although we didn’t grow any figs this past year, we did grow other things and in doing so some of us learned a lot about preparation, waiting and watching. And while some were initially better at waiting for things to grow than I was, all of us kept our eyes open looking for signs of growth. We prepared the space and then waited and watched.
We’ve done something similar today in our Hanging of the Green service, haven’t we? We gathered together and prepared this room. So now we wait, but as we wait we are to keep watch. We are to wait with eyes open. We are to wait expectantly for we know Christ is coming.
As we wait, I wonder where we might look for God. Maybe that is actually the hardest part because unlike our growing of vegetables, knowing where to look for God isn’t always easy to figure out. And that, it seems, is at the heart of this section of Mark’s Gospel. It is here that Mark poses a timeless question, one that I believe is good for us as we begin the waiting and watching part of Advent:
Where will we look for God?
As we wait, both in our sacred spaces and our secular spaces, where will we look for God?
As we wait, especially in the midst of the chaos of our days, where will we look for God?
Prepare… Wait… Watch!
It is the rhythm of life and Advent reminds as much.
So, as we wait, may we do so with eyes wide open, knowing full well the Good News that Christ is Coming.