Sunday, 22 November 2009
What are we waiting for? Advent 1
Malachi speaks of a messenger who will prepare for the coming of the Christ, a prophet who will deliver the people, make the way straight. Like the rest of the church throughout the world we are waiting, because that is what Advent means-waiting. It is a time of preparation, of waiting for Christ's coming. The preparation is a spiritual one.
How many of us have given up hope. We have stopped praying for miracles, for healing both physical and emotional, for healing of broken painful relationships, for change. How many of us face seemingly difficult and hopeless situations at this Advent time? Situations that perhaps only you know of, and yet the message of God to us is one of hope whatever our situation.
Hope comes to us in unexpected ways, when we least expect it, in a dream, or in a moment of inspiration, through a friend, or even someone we dislike. God uses surprising people as a vehicle of hope. We may feel the presence of God suddenly, feel peace and strength and realize that God is with us in all things and especially in the crisis we face.
There can be nothing better than to hear words of hope. An infertility broken. A diagnosis wrong. A wrong forgiven. A brokenness mended. New possibilities imagined. Hope of a better world, hope of peace between Muslim and Christian, in Israel, in Afghanistan, in the Horn of Africa. Hope born of years in prison, or of a death for a dream. Of such things others maybe have much to teach us.
This Christmas there will be no hope in the noisy shopping rituals and the exchange of presents if there is not also a humbling, a waiting, a vulnerability, to Christ’s coming again, the perspective of God with us-Immanuel, can change us, forever, completely. For many of us we need to feel the brush of angels wings and the whisper of hope this Advent, this waiting time. Today this message challenges us to live lives according to gospel values rather than those of the consumer capitalism that surrounds us. God given hope is not optimism, or sentimentality, based on ignorance or naivite. It is based quite simply in a trust in God. The God who brings light into darkness. and speaks to us. Prepare the Way! For Christ is coming again. Will we hear him, will we see him this Christmastime?